Bonus Movie Review: Captures the Essence of Mumbai Authentically!

Bonus Marathi Movie Review Pooja Sawant Gashmeer Mahajani
  • Movie : Bonus | बोनस
  • Producer : Arjun Singgh Baran & Kartik Nishandar, Govind Ubhe, Sandesh Patil, Ratish Patil and M. Anupama
  • Writer-Director : Saurabh Bhave
  • Star Cast : Gashmeer Mahajani, Pooja Sawant, Dr. Mohan Agashe, Jaywant Wadkar, Purna Nand, Makarand Sathe & others 

Viewpoint: Most importantly ‘Bonus’ succeeds in capturing the heartland of Mumbai in it’s truest form. Mumbai in this film feels alive unlike in Many other recent Marathi films! And along with that the film has a solid protagonist about whom we are concerned throughout his journey in the film.

What Works? 

  • By feeling alive I mean the way Mumbai is captured in this film shies away from any artificial exaggeration. The life in chawls around Mumbai is not always as impossible and gruesome as some films before had depicted. Neither is it all hunky-dory all the time. While the protagonist in the film finds this life challenging we are never seeing any melodramatic exaggeration of his hardships. From a visual point of view too the film stays neutral and authentic.
  • Gashmeer Mahajani had played this unlikable sophisticated outsider in his films before, but never did he succeed to this extent. In this film we despise him at the beginning but slowly also start sympathizing with him and eventually feeling that there’s nothing majorly wrong with him as he comes off age through the experiences he has in a world different from the world he was born and brought up in.
  • Another major aspect in making this Mumbai more authentic are a number of other characters who seem taken out directly from the real world. Whether it’s an real estate agent who shows our protagonist a house under his measly allotted budget who then tells the owner of the house that he’ll take his commission whenever he is needs any money, but drools over fried Bombay ducks that the woman (owner) prepares. Then there is the husband of that woman who had been a convicted murderer and is back after finishing his sentence, who shares his experience of doing plumbing chores inside the Yerawada jail!
  • While the film is about social and economic differences in our society, it doesn’t hit us hard in a way that is disturbing and difficult to digest, it rather chooses a different path where all it asks from us is a bit of compassion towards people living a harder life.
  • The humour in the first half truly keeps us glued in curiosity towards the protagonist & his journey and also helps the film settle into it’s lighter, non-melodramatic tone for the rest of the run time!
  • From a technical point of view the film understands when to let the background score take over a scene and when to not disrupt the realness of a scene. That again helps the film in maintaining it’s authentic but entertaining tone.

What Fails? 

  • There are a few convenient plot points that the film takes for our protagonist which makes our protagonist’s challenge a little less challenging, for example the ease with which he gets a job.
  • Not necessarily a big drawback but the way Pooja Sawant’s character was setup in the film felt well gelled with authenticity of the film but later her transition into a love interest for our protagonist seemed a unnecessary.

Final Verdict: ‘Bonus’ represents the new Marathi cinema that is both mainstream and audience friendly and is also thought provoking and well crafted. It’s high time that Marathi audiences start valuing our Marathi films more and watching them in theatres is the only way to do that.