Director: Kedar Shinde
Music: Vaishali Samant
Actors: Bharat Jadhav, Vijay Chavan, Sunil Barve, Alka Kubal Athalye, Piyush Ranade, Chaitrali Gupte, Mrunal Dusanis, Abhinay Sawant
The stakes are high. The eagerness on everyone’s face cannot be measured. The moment we got to know about the cinematic version of the popular play staged almost a decade ago, Shrimant Damodar Pant, the enthusiasm on our faces can be compared to the moment when Poonam Pandey made her famous announcement during the last Cricket World Cup finals. No connection, but you got the point, right? Now, I have a question should I prance or just do a nagin dance? Whatever I do, it won’t be out of sheer disappointment but for finally seeing a complete entertainer after ages. As I write on, I will explain why this is one movie which takes the tag ‘Paisa Vasool‘ with it.
The base of the story is still the same. The Pant family consists of Ganpatrao (Vijay Chavan), his wife Shanta (Alka Kubal), elder son Vijay and his wife Naina (played by Piyush Ranade and Chaitrali Gupte), daughter Suman (Mrunal Dusanis) and Damu ( Bharat Jadhav). They stay in a wada, built by Ganpat’s father, the renowned Shrimant Damodar Pant, along with several other families. All is well, except that at 6 every evening, Shrimant’s soul comes into the innocently-stupid Damu and the whole wada joins the charade to humour Pant. All of them are always worried and tired due to this. The back story is that Shrimant was a freedom fighter who almost got hold of a map which could lead him to a hidden treasure. But he gets half of the map and the other half goes to the villain Lakhoba (Sunil Barve) who gets killed by Shrimant… at 6pm. Now, Suman’s marriage is fixed but not to the guy she loves, Mohan (Abhinay Sawant). There is a twist here. Check the film to know more, as someone wants the treasure badly and will go to any length for it.
It has been quite some time since I wanted to whistle, dance in the aisle, cheer and be a complete mawali while watching a film. Shrimant Damodar Pant gets into the entertainment mode, from the moment you say go and the film does not drop the ball, though at the end, it does falter. The end seems to have been borrowed from Priyadarshan’s movies.
Shinde’s movies were always the crowd-puller and Shrimant… falls into the bracket. He cleverly makes sure that the humour is genuinely funny and nothing below the belt. It probably works, as he has written the story and dialogues. In fact, the dialogues are the king of the whole film. Sanjay Memane’s and Anil Katke’s cinematography supports the film well enough. Music wise, you would find it to be just about decent. One of the funniest moments comes via a so-called lavani to keep Pant engaged. It is based on a children’s song, Pulapakharu, Chaana Kiti Disitey. It’s a must watch.
Bharat Jadhav and Kedar Shinde can be called the Jai and Veeru of Marathi cinema. They always come up with a winner. This time too, it has been the same. It helped that Jadhav played the same role in the film. He worked out the deal easily and one could notice it on the big screen. He is funny in an innocent manner as Damu. But when he becomes Pant, you are terrorised just like the rest of the characters of the wada. But the guy who steals the thunder from Jadhav’s nose is Vijay Chavan as Damu’s father. He convinces you that he is indeed traumatised between a silly troublesome son and the father who arrives in his son’s body and beats and slaps him. Chavan not only gets the best dialogues but is the guru of comic timing. He knows when to say the dialogue to perfection.
For once, I was happy to see Alka Kubal Athalye make an effort to make you laugh. Maherchi Saadi has been dry-cleaned into a fancy evening gown, if you get the gist of what I am saying. The rest of the cast is capable and they enhance the film. Newcomer Abhinay
I got a chance of watching the film at a smaller theatre where the actual junta still goes to watch films. Throughout the film, all I could hear were laughter, whistles, cheering and claps. There was not one moment of silence and people were heard actually calling out the actor’s name in appreciation, at every other scene. I rest my case of Shrimant Damodar Pant‘s popularity with this. Enjoy!Sawant (prominent Marathi actress and comedy queen Nirmitee Sawant’s son) shows potential but needs to work on his dialogue a little better.