Rape is never even an easy topic to discuss, leave alone make a movie about it. Sure, we have news channels and the media hyperventilating about the rising cases of rape happening in every nook and corner of the country. But it is just a news for most. In this light, Marathi film ‘Sat Na Gat‘, a movie based on a novel written by acclaimed Marathi novelist Rajan Khan in 1992, holds some grounds even today. But before the review states what the movie offers, a word of advice: try watching the movie only if you are capable of handling the film’s rawness. It is not a film to be taken lightly.
Director: Raju Parsekar
Actors: Mahesh Manjrekar, Bharat Jadhav, Pakhi Hegde, Sayaji Shinde, Digambar Naik, Vaibhav Mangale and Santosh Shinde
Music: Praveen Kunwar
Lyrics: Nitin Tendulkar and Arvind Jagtap
Based on a novel by Rajan Khan
We go back in rural Maharashtra of 1992, to a village which has the honour of being the chief minister’s village. You meet the characters one by one. There is the corrupt and lust-filled police inspector Asole (Mahesh Manjrekar), a lascivious editor of a small-time paper Shinde (Sayaji Shinde) who considers himself to be the epitome of a journalistic goodness, his reporter and the movie’s solo good figure Uttam Wabale (Bharat Jadhav), an equally corrupt editor of a rival paper and Asole’s supporter (Vaibhav Mangle) and others. In this typical village, you meet Nami (Pakhi Hegde), a beautiful and hard-working woman staying with her husband Damu and two kids. Due to a jobless and utterly useless husband, it is Nami who works as a maid to run the house. She is already on the radar of Shinde, when a body found floating in the lake besides her house gets her into the notice of Asole. Under false accusations, she is brought to the police station where she is brutally raped by him. Wabale who is probably the only one to understand Nami’s struggles, gets to know about the incident. Without taking names, he along with Shinde publishes the story, each with reasons of his own. But what explodes is beyond their comprehensions. Asole wants to get rid of this trouble and goes to all levels for doing so. Shinde supports Nami for getting news and something else. Police internal fights too come in between. In all this, Nami becomes a total puppet and her angst screams through her silence.
Yes, the topic is quite serious and no, not one scene is used to titillate the audience. For a two and a half hour movie, the screenplay is kept quite tight and nowhere the interest gets dropped. We have to applaud to Rajan Khan for a story (novel to be precise) whose subject still hits a raw nerve. The credit should be given to Arvind Jagtap who has also written the hard-hitting dialogues (with good humour added in).
While watching the film, one could sense that the choice of actors has been pretty bang on. Mahesh Manjrekar has done a PhD in playing evil characters and here too, he sleep walks through the role. But he is nevertheless good (in acting, not in the role he plays). Most Bharat Jadhav fans are in for a surprise as he plays a good reporter caught between a shady editor, callous people and his own helplessness. Pakhi Hegde as Nami makes her debut in Marathi film and he performance is truly outstanding. Her eyes and entire body language speaks of a woman who wants to fight but situations just makes her even more helpless. She is an actor to watch out for. While the rest have done a decent job, it is Sayaji Shinde who steals the limelight by playing a seedy editor who sees spicy news in everything. You actually see him as the guy who you would prefer keeping at a hand’s distance. Plus, he gets some amazing dialogues. The best part about his character is the attitude that he is best human around, in the same lines of great leaders.
Raju Parsekar as a director should be applauded for picking a topic like this and making a hard-hitting A-Grade film. He has put his points on the issue before and makes you question them. Certain scenes and dialogues stay with you. When the villages find out that Nami was the victim, most of them come near her house, first on the pretext of washing clothes near the lake or getting water. Most stay there staring at the house or speaking some harsh words. You go blank like she does. When she is abused again, a final breakdown happens and she screams at her husband for being so utterly useless, thus making her go out to fend for the family and become a victim to the abuse. Her rants strike you somewhere. Another scene is where a higher police official come to question Nami about discrepancy about cell where she was raped. Her counter-question is whether the cell is more important or the fact that she was raped. The only trouble in the whole film would be the cinematography which just isn’t anything to talk about. Music and lyrics are good, though the lavani scene was unnecessary.
‘Sat Na Gat’ is a good attempt, if not great, at handling a sensitive issue with care. It does provide enough fodder for you to go home and think over certain events. But if you are thinking of going for this flick just like that or because there was no other film’s ticket available, think again.