2016 has been an eventful year but still a complex year to analyze. The year started out on a commercially great note with ‘Natsamrat’ that became the highest grossing Marathi film back then. Only to be surpassed in few months by the 100 Crore grosser ‘Sairat’! And since then this year belongs mostly to Sairat. After a long gap around November ‘Ventialtor’ did stand the test by making considerable profit on the box-office, but again the ‘demonetisation’ impact postponed many big Marathi releases & affected the ongoing releases! However this list of ours is predominantly designed to represent films judged only on the basis of content, quality & cinematic greatness!
Sujay Dahake’s third feature film, a mightily ambitious sci-fi romance starring Madan Deodhar, Ketaki Mategaonkar & Shivraj Waichal is definitely the most technically sublime Marathi film ever made. Yes there are issues with its second half that is plain incompetent that ends hurriedly & almost ridicules our interest in the film but still ‘Phuntroo’ is an important film merely for what it achieves with visual effects! Add to that some really brilliant dialogues & strong performances from a young & talented cast!
Starring the king of Marathi theatre Prashant Damle in the role of an eccentric detective who has a soft corner for dogs! Bho Bho has three different genres submerged together. It works on two of its subgenres one a ‘comedy’ & other a ‘melodrama’. Where it doesn’t work is ‘murder mystery’ which is actually the main genre of the film. Even with that error the heartfelt believability that Prashant Damle brings to this common man turned detective connects with us & makes the whole process enjoyable!
Director Sameer Asha Patil shows traces of western filmmaker Tarantino in his debut feature film that’s based on incidents that took place at a prominent religious centre of Maharashtra. It fictionalizes & even stylizes the happenings & tries to indulge the audience with a pretty different (for Marathi) approach to the narrative. Again alike many films this year Chaurya could have been more effective had it worked more on its second half. Having said that Sameer Asha Patil is definitely a director to watch for in the future!
Priyanka Chopra’s debut film as a producer, Bollywood’s filmmaker Rajesh Mapuskar’s first Marathi feature & Ashutosh Gowariker’s comeback to acting! ‘Ventilator’ had a burden of expectations & it did fulfill them to much extent. A simple story that touches your heart was brought to life by a brigade of talented Marathi & non-Marathi actors. Shining the brightest were Jitendra Joshi & senior playwright Satish Alekar! Though the satirical dark comedy that Mapuskar aspired for in the first half could have been more sharper, less repetitive & a bit subtle!
Makarand Anaspure for once was not cracking lame jokes or dancing out of rhythm on a item song. ‘Ranga Patanga’ was a strong & emotionally effective, realistic rural film. The journey of a man who is looking for his two bulls ‘Ranga’ & ‘Patanga’. The ironic part is that this poor man is a muslim by religion. This year itself a law was passed by our government which put a ban on killing of cows & eating of beef. This film made a subtle social statement on how the poor suffers for basic necessities & the media-system make a fool out of them.
The official remake of ‘Kaaka Mutthai’, ‘Half Ticket’ had a gem of a heart, a beautiful example of simplistic filmmaking. Though it didn’t maintain the realistic flavor from its original it still made the necessary impact on us. The little stars Shubham More & Vinayak Potdar are exceptional in the film & that helps the feel good feeling of this film. The music, cinematography & the background score complements the film soulfully. The film propagated a beautiful message that no matter what we should keep dreaming & keep working to fulfill our dreams!
Chandrakant Kulkarni’s ‘Family Katta’ was a refreshing take on a classic Marathi genre ‘Family Drama’! The film was based on a play made by the same team but the way cinematographer Mahesh Limaye shot the film it didn’t remind us one bit that we are watching something that was first a play. The film has two really strong female performances from Vandana Gupte & Sai Tamhankar. Family Katta is not a moral lesson about the importance of traditional family values instead it was a beautiful commentary on the need of togetherness!
The most talked about Marathi movie of 2016 (of course after Sairat!). ‘Kaul’ challenged the basic rule of filmmaking i.e the audio-video interpretation. It’s a difficult film to interpret if we are obsessively stressing ourselves to do the unnecessary mathematical hard work. Instead if we relax & simply go with the film’s audio-visual flow & enjoy its surrealist nature, we are in for a treat! Experiencing Kaul is a one of a kind ‘Original’ experience to be cherished forever. There are some theatres that are still screening the film, if you haven’t seen it yet you should definitely experience it!
Well technically ‘Astu’ did release back in 2013 but only in a single theatre! It’s sad & still inspiring that ‘Astu’ had to be re-released in 2016. The makers of the film Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukthankar opted for support from the audience through the process of crowd funding. The film starring Dr. Mohan Agashe, Irawati Harshe, Amruta Subhash & Milind Soman is a deeply philosophical film that uses the device of Alzheimer’s disease. The film is an spiritual experience that make us question our purpose of existence & the sense it makes in the overall concept of existing!
Come on! You already knew the number one Marathi film of 2016! It’s ‘Sairat’ & we won’t be going over the top to also call it the number one Indian film of 2016. Yes in the whole Indian scenario of popular Hindi films & regional cinema ‘Sairat’ is a milestone! Nagraj Manjule redefined the age old rich girl-poor boy love story completely! What it also had which no other Indian film of its genre ever hard was a strong context of social divide. The music of Sairat is equally responsible for its success & so are the many little cinematic elements that make the filmore wholesome & tremendously increase its repeat value for viewers of all kind!
- Jaundya Na Balasaheb
- Poshter Girl
All these 5 films are mentioned here mainly because they had an important commercial & popular impact in 2016. Among these ‘YZ’ & ‘Vazandar’ could have almost been in our top 10. These films had much scope to become better films than what they actually are. They do show sparks in certain aspects but overall they could have been better!
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