Posted On Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 09:17:02 AM
The title flummoxes you as much as the film itself — but for dissimilar reasons. The film is neither a jingoistic statement on Maharashtrian sentiment nor is it a historic tour round the state.
Only three cities are covered — namely Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur with a special song on Pune inserted to justify the title. Coming to the story, top-seed tennis champ Ashwini Stevenson (Anusha Dandekar) an orphan, adopted by an American, returns to India to visit and hand over a donation to her old orphanage.
She is escorted all through by the Kolhapur-based Vishal Mohite (a very likeable Hemant Dhome) who later also provides the romantic interest for the sprightly girl.
Her India visit is to be covered by newbie television journo Rajat Rege (Siddharth Chandekar), the son of Amruta (Mrinal Kulkarni) and Dilip (Mahesh Manjrekar plus hideous hairdo).
Through a television show, Amruta discovers that Ashwini is her long-forgotten daughter whom she had abandoned in a catatonic state of repression but whom she desperately wants to meet again. An understanding husband and an obliging son notwithstanding, the small snag is that Ashwini loathes her biological mother. How they manage to convince the disillusioned girl is the crux of the storyline.
The story has a latent credibility, the treatment of the topic is fresh and honest but where it fails is the lack of warmth and sensitivity when it comes to topics like adoption, the mother-daughter relationship and the anguish of mental disorders (which the neurotic Amruta is essentially suffering from). Pointless melodrama mars the plot.
And when he had a decent script and a bevy of histrionic talent like Manjrekar, Kulkarni, Yatin Karyekar and Swati Chitnis, why Joglekar had to resort to tepid theatricals is baffling.
Though you agree with the sentiment, you cannot feel the emotional torment of the characters — be it Ashwini who is traumatised by the rejection and thereby cannot bring herself to forgive her mother, or the anguished helplessness and mad obduracy of a desperately seeking Amruta who wants to meet her daughter whom she had forsaken so many years ago.
Though a moving story, the emotional pang is missing. The characters of Dilip and Rajat are shown sound and sensible, the twin rational thoughts in the muddle of melodrama and mawkishness.
The scene in which a furious Rajat tries to knock sense and reality into the distraught, hysterical mother and asks her why is she hankering after a daughter who hates her is refreshingly succinct and frankly, it is also Joglekar’s answer to his own questions.
Although an unfair expectation, it would have been lovely to watch Joglekar recreate some of his parents’ — Sai Paranjpe and Arun Joglekar — comic panache though we glimpse a hint of it in the Pune song where Joglekar, in Hitchcockian tradition, briefly visits the silverscreen as the khadoos Puneri shopkeeper who wants to close shop early, shooing his customers away.
But what is truly exasperating is the in-the-face advertising of a string of brands which reduces an otherwise emotionally charged film to a noisy advertorial. Music is mediocre though in one song Hasat Rahuya there is a feeble attempt to interleave the peppy charm of the English musical.
The background score is boisterous, needlessly whipping up more melodrama. Performances are pithy but largely fallow, bereft of emotional impact and leaving you strangely empty. The star who twinkles brightly all along is Anusha Dandekar and she does full justice to her meaty role. The film revolves around her and she shines through brilliantly. This might just be her victory call. Jay Maharashtra!