Review: Mauli (2018)
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Jitendra Joshi, Siddharth Jadhav, Saiyami Kher, Girija Oak Godbole & Shrikant Yadav
Director: Aditya Sarpotdar
Writer: Kshitij Patwardhan
Quick Viewpoint: Mauli doesn’t match the expectations that we had from a very reputed team who had recently given us ‘Faster Fene’. Yet the film should be looked as an honest attempt (though a failed attempt) to push the envelope of a template style commercial cinema.
- The principal conflict of the film lacks logic especially in the first half. The film stereotypes a liquor bar as the most evil thing that can happen to a small village. And never does it feel to explain itself. Is the liquor bar illegal? If yes then why doesn’t the film spend some screen time to investigate what can be done legally to shut it down? Usual civic sense seems to be completely given a toss!
- Then the owner of the liquor bar, Nana (Jitendra Joshi) the evil villain with a scar on a his face, has a personal history against the temple that is just opposite to the bar & he has pledged that the locked temple will never be freed again! (If Pravin Tarde is reading, here’s the plot for Deool Band 2!) If Nana is mainly a greedy, money minded man, why doesn’t he ever realize that there’s probably more money in the spiritual field than the liquor field?
- The reasons of the above flaws is that, the film is least bothered about the actual narrative, it only wishes to use it as a template. The main moto is to give you a larger than life hero & his journey to become the saviour of this village!
- Saiyami Kher making her debut in Marathi cinema, sadly never manages to appear like her character. Her character itself feels like a poor man’s ‘Basanti’ (from Sholay) but without any fun aspect to it. Her Marathi is definitely problematic but beyond that too her performance feels fake.
- The action scenes have an overdose of slow motion. That is actually something that is common in masala action films made all over India right now! What happens is that we never really feel the actual rush of an action sequence if the slow mo is overused.
- It might be lesser important but the first 10 minutes or so have almost nothing to do with the actual film. First there’s this huge title sequence with a song which shows some beautifully captured moments of the Pandharpur Waari, just after that we see an action scene set probably in Pandharpur to introduce the principal character of the film, then follows the ‘Holi’ song! No matter what reasons they must have, but this is just not done! 10 minutes or more in a film’s run time should either be a part of the film or just shouldn’t be there!
- By the end of the first half there’s a twist in the story that turns the table on its head. An exact opposite turn to the story when compared to the prequel or other films like Rowdy Rathore of this type. At that point we are intrigued about the second half! And comparatively the second half of the film starts pretty well! Mainly because of the twist!
- The internal conflict of Riteish Deshmukh’s Mauli (can’t reveal much) with himself is far more interesting than the rest of the film.
- Kshitij Patwardhan’s dialogues sometimes fall flat & feel too ambitious for a template driven film, but sometimes they work! And when they work they make us linger over them!
- Amalendu Choudhary’s camera work! No matter how hard you try to be disinterested in the action scenes of the film, it’s the cinematography that keeps you there!
Final Verdict: I see ‘Mauli’ as a missed opportunity towards redefining the age old masala action genre. Yet there’s hope for this genre to be some day redefined by maybe the same people who are a part of this team!
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