‘Mee Vasantrao’ is an amazing Marathi language movie. It’s a biopic of legendary Marathi singer, Vasantrao Deshpande who created a place for himself in the minds and hearts of Marathi music aficionados quite late in his life, when he was in 40’s.
Rahul Deshpande, grandson of Vasantrao Deshpande plays his grandfather’s role with aplomb. An excellent classical singer in his own right, Rahul doesn’t disappoint when it comes to acting. I had always thought that he had taken to acting as a hobby, taking acting roles which gave full scope to his unparalleled singing talent. How wrong I was! He has lived the role of his grandfather; I would go so far as to say that this is his career defining role. While he has acted well throughout, two moments in the movie really stood out for me; his heated exchange with traditional music purists in Pune and his take on the art of Baithakichi lavani.
If Rahul Deshpande impresses, Anita Date, who has played the role of Vasantrao’s mother, deserves awards galore for playing the role of a feisty, strong willed woman raising a child singlehandedly, with grace and confidence. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say that she is the soul of this movie.
Pushkaraj Chirputkar, who plays the role of Vasantrao’s best friend, P. L. Deshpande or Pula, for short, is a surprise package. Playing the role of an extremely loved and respected personality in all Maharastrian households is no mean feat. Pula was known for his perfect comic timing and Pushkaraj has captured this nuance perfectly.
Amey Wagh, playing the brief role of Shri Dinanath Mangeshkar and Alok Rajwade, playing the role of Mama (maternal uncle) of Vasantrao, convince you that the future of Marathi cinema is in good hands.
I don’t remember the name of the actress who plays a veteran lavani singer, but she too manages to grab attention of the viewers in the briefest of roles.
The Direction of Nipun Dharmadhikari is top-notch. Whether it is perfect casting (note Durga Jasraj playing the role of Begum Akhtar) or the apt locales and wada’s/neighbourhoods, he captures the old world charm beautifully. Also note the frames, the play of light and dark, throughout the film and especially during the lavani scene. Mark my words, if one goes by this movie, Nipun Dharmadhikari is destined for future glory as a Director.
Don’t miss this movie if you love meaningful cinema.
Lavani– lavani sung and enacted before a larger audience in a theatrical atmosphere is phadachi lavani
Baithakichi lavani- a lavani sung a private and select audience is baithakichi lavani
Photo credits – Jio Studios, Viacom18 Studios