Movie Review: Anumati
Anumati is sensitive, serious and yet engaging film in which you travel with the protagonist’s pain and helplessness as he tries to save his wife from death.
Director: Gajendra Ahire
Cinematography: Govind Nihalani
Cast: Vikram Gokhale, Neena Kulkarni, Rima, Subodh Bhave, Saee Tamhankar, Kishore Kadam, Neha Pendse, Late Anand Abhyankar
I have a confession to make, I just don’t like sob stories. However, two things made me watch Anumati (permission in Marathi). Actor Vikram Gokhale and director Gajendra Ahire. And with their ‘permission’, I would like to eat my bias. Anumati proves the point of Marathi cinema coming of age. In 2 hours 10 minutes, you travel with Gokhale’s character, feeling his pain, feeling his helplessness and the myriad emotions render you speechless!
Ratnakar Pathare (Gokhale), a retired teacher, lives a happy retired life in Srivardhan with wife Madhu (Neena Kulkarni). About to travel to the US for a small trip, Madhu gets struck by brain haemorrhage. Her survival chances seem 50-50 and doctors have told Ratnakar to sign the DNR form (do not resuscitate), which means removal of external help to breathe. While son Chandrakant (Subodh) wants his father to sign, Ratnakar refuses and insists that things will be better. Monetary troubles make Ratnakar travel to places to seek help. What we see next is his not just his desperation to get funds, all just to watch his wife live a healthy life once again.
When Gokhale’s name was announced for this year’s National Award for Best Actor, it did send pleasant ripples amongst all. He deserved every bit of the accolades, and awards heaped on him. Gokhale is restrained as a man whose love for his wife makes him think of nothing else. Ratnakar has spent all his savings on her treatment and he begs and borrows for more. Gokhale brings out the character’s helpless and desperation just through his eyes and body language. When Ratnakar literally begs before two young charity organiser girls for money, you just feel as helpless as him. Another scene-stealer is the insurance policy scene. When the agent shows technical inability to give money, Ratnakar’s raves and rants silence you. Throughout the film, all you see is Ratnakar and his struggle.
Ahire should get the credit for never letting such a sensitive issue become melodramatic. As a director, his focus is Ratnakar and his love and extreme anxiety. Ahire also shows the other side, where Ratnakar’s son is struggling to provide money and his inability to do more for his mother. Every person who Ratnakar seeks help from has his or her constraints. The use of music and some soul-stirring poetry helps us feel Ratnakar’s pain.
It is creditable that the rest of the cast does not get overshadowed by Gokhale. Saee Tamhankar as his daughter-in-law is at her unglamorous best. After Gokhale’s acting and the sensitive direction, the eye-appealing cinematography by ace director Govind Nihalani is the plus point. Shot during the monsoons, every shot is picture perfect, including those in Konkan. Every frame, especially the close-ups speak volumes for Ratnakar. The only minus point is the typical end. You feel as if you finished a great meal, but received just sugar as a dessert.
Ratnakar’s journey in Anumati is not his alone, we become a part of it. You end up living his aches and feel the pain he’s going through. You have to watch this movie to understand what I am talking about.
Photo credit: santabanta.com