The movie stars newcomers Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru
Sairat is director Nagraj Manjule’s second film after the critical acclaimed Fandry. While Fandry spoke about a muted, one sided love of a boy belonging to a backward class who falls for an upper caste girl in a rural set up, Sairat is a FULL BLOWN love story between the two teenagers played beautifully well by newcomers Akash Thosar (Parshya) and Rinku Rajguru (Archie). It has all the elements of your typical masala, commercial blockbuster but yet it stands out, thanks to Manjule’s amazing imagery and heart wrenching, realistic brand of storytelling.
Here’s why you must watch this regional cinema this weekend. Even if you speak the language or not. Read on.
What’s it about:
Set in the hinterlands of Solapur district of Maharashtra, (the director's home pitch) the film opens up with introducing our lead hero Parshya, quietly eyeing his lady love Rinku who comes from an affluent political family. He is behind the fields across her bungalow as he looks at her with forlorn gaze, he is fully aware that the society prohibits him from attaining her. Manjule, right from the beginning establishes that in his world, the caste and status of a person is much more important than anything else. But our hero is young and restless and madly in love. He, also called as the Dhoni of Bittergoan, looks at Archie who has her back towards him and then, moves on to the village cricket ground where he wins the Bittergaon Cricket Premier League with flourish! Yes, the film is about the impossible love story between Parshya and Archie and this time, it is not one sided. Archie, who is a total rule breaker and a badass, too feels deeply for Parshya and is rebellious with the world to be with him. The innocent love between them blooms and the inevitable happens. The families get involved, leaving no choice for the couple but to elope. Between all this drama, Manjule peppers his scenes with beautiful symbolism and dialogues. For example, a young professor is passionately talking about modern Marathi literature when Archie’s brother, Prince (you get that?) speaks on a mobile phone. The professor scolds him and demands that he hang up. Prince gets up and calmly slaps the professor hard. Then he makes an exit coolly like nothing ever happened.
Rinku’s Archie is a rebel without a cause and is constantly at odds with what the society expects from her as woman and what she really wants. Her tagline in the movie, which she often uses as a threat is, “Marathit samjat nai, tar English madhe sangu?” Translated as, “If you don’t understand in Marathi, I will explain the same thing to you in English.” This highlights the fact that the rural population still view English speaking people with aversion and some sort of intimidation. Sairat is full of these references.
So, the couple run away to a different state and start a life there. Reality bites. Will they be able to sustain the brutal reality of life after their bubble has burst?
Amazing storytelling, brilliant performances and music makes Sairat an amazing treat to all movie goers of all ages. While there are scenes where you can have a lot of masti and fun, there are other sequences where you would just want to sit back and ponder over the class and caste issues which we grapple with everyday. Other times, you would feel plain angry the way these issues are still prevalent in your country in this time and age. Music directors Ajay Atul have done an AMAZING job with the background score and sound tracks of the film. Also, watch out for the splendid cinematography capturing the rustic Bittergaon. Also, the director has touched upon gender roles reversal. He is well versed with the household chores, she isn't. She can't cook or clean and is pretty unapologetic about it. He happily does it for her till she learns. It is rare to find a heroine like Archie in a rural set up. This is one of the element which makes Sairat so special.
Like I said earlier, the film is a re-imagined love story. It is a mish mash of Ek Duje Ke Liye, Saathiya and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. It is old wine in new bottle.
What to do:
Please go watch this film. Do your bit to promote some incredible regional cinema and I promise you that you won’t regret it!
4.5 out of 5
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