A biopic on the life of the political legend from the Maharashtrain heartlands needed that special touch to make it worth the watch. Jabbar Patel’s biopic on Yashwantrao Chavan, a dynamic political figure and Maharashtra’s first Chief Minister, deserves applause. It is engaging, politically vital and speaks about an honest politician who lived on his own terms. What makes Yashwantrao Chavan –Bakhar Eka Vadalachi special is that it is a film and not a documentary. That’s what matters!
Director: Jabbar Patel
Actor: Ashok Lokhande, Om Bhutkar, Lubna Salim, Meena Naik and Nana Patekar
Music: Anand Modak
You see the story via a professor (Nana Patekar) and his two students. While telling them about Yashwantrao’s saga, they also try to discuss about the way he lead his life, political and personal. We see a young Yashwanta struggle to get education, with full support from his mother (Meena Naik) and elder brother Ganapatrao. The spirit of independence, betterment of the people, especially the farmers and living for the nation slowly made the older Yashwant (Om Bhutkar) take part in the independence movement. We also see his love for the books and other creative aspects. Soon, he enters politics after independence and the older Yashwantrao (Ashok Lokhande) becomes not just a successful Chief Minister but makes a mark on a national level. But post-independence politics has hurdles galore. How he faces them along with his wife Venutai (Lubna Salim) is the film’s tale.
Biopics are never an easy business especially in a country like ours where crowds become violent over the slightest insinuations. But one guesses a filmmaker like Dr Jabbar Patel who has had a vast experience in dealing with sensitive topics including the acclaimed film on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar can direct Yashwantrao Chavan –Bakhar Eka Vadalachi with relative ease. Patel allows you to go into the past with the narration of Chavan’s life but also comes to present and discusses his every word, movement, thoughts and decision. You see a dynamic human who lived for the people, thought for them and existed just for them. We also see a loving and mature relationship between Chavan and his supportive wife Venutai. Yes, the time factor does bother you a bit. For a generation who finds anything beyond two hours to be long, a two hours 44 minutes film is irksome. What really makes it a fascinating watch is the use of actual visuals, videos, speeches and so on to carry forward the narration. While the film is just about decent technically, it is the music by Anand Modak which lends a touch of authenticity.
Where the director actually gets it 10/10 is in the acting section. The young boy playing the young Yashwanta emotes beautifully through his eyes, while Om Bhutkar as the young but slightly older Yashwant Chavan shows Chavan’s journey to fight against the British and also reach his political ideals sensitively. But it is Ashok Lokhande as the older Yashwantrao Chavan who wins all applause. He not only looks like the doyen but his body language and acting allows you to think that this is how Chavan was, in real life. A special mention needs to be made of ace make-up artist Vikram Gaikwad who made all this happen. Lubna Salim’s portrayal of his supportive wife Venutai is heart-warming, along with Meena Naik’s portrayal of Chavan’s mother. Rest of the actors including Nana Patekar do their part well.
Yashwantrao Chavan –Bakhar Eka Vadalachi got an unusual gathering of viewers, from young to old and from all walks of life. Most walked back with happy faces, smiles and a feeling that such a mighty heart existed in Indian politics. Despite the length and a few glitches, watching a film on someone who was called Prati-Shivaji, should be a good decision.