The words uttered by Ganpatrao in Natsamrat feels like a religious discourse, falling on ears like a soothing balm. It is after many a long years that dialogues with such finesse have been put up on the screen. They seem nothing less than those featured in plays Ganpatrao cherishes and brings to life on stage. Screenplay writers nowadays dumb down their content in a disquietude that the audience will not comprehend the gems of emotions they hide beneath the curtains called words. Here, the writing is intelligent treating the audience with the reverence it is often penurious of.
A forlorn Ganpatrao asks in an address to the characters he religiously brought into life ‘When will my grief be considered worthy as yours?’ Nana Patekar rises to this very question and breathes fire into this character. There are rare times when an actor just draws you into a movie, when he rises above the movie itself and well, puts you in a state of limbo where you are divested from your physical abilities to move. You just stare and get amazed. I hate to say it because I believe staunchly that every actor has untapped potential beyond realization, but this is a career-defining performance by Nana. He can’t rise above this unfortunately and it is an amalgamation of sadness and joy when I come to this realization.
As to the movie itself, it is left miles behind in the inter space between it and Patekar’s performance. It is ridden with the very cliches I had expected it to be free from the shackles of. The premise, although bases on a play by V.V.Shirwadkar, brings back memories of a much-superior Tokyo Story(or a much inferior Baghban as well), which forever immortalized the theme of the neglectful children-old parents through the mastery of the profound Ozu himself .
While being a compelling character-study, Natsamrat is lagging behind on adapting itself to the familiarity of its concept to the audience. But, with Nana Patekar’s visceral performance the movie is aeons ahead of what it could have been without him. It is Manjrekar’s ode to the purity and greatness of theater and its dialogues which remain forever etched in the minds of the audience, and peering through that field of vision, it is a beautiful and heartfelt ode, a one which should be watched at least once. Patekar’s performance embodies every emotion that actors strive to put up on screen through courses of their lifetimes, which in most cases unfortunately, bears not even a dint of success.
RATING : 8 / 10
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