Verdict: Deepak Dobriyal quietly steals the movie and your heart.
When Baba’s trailer was released, we were excited about it for two reasons. Firstly, it is the first Marathi production by (not ironically) Sanjay “Baba” Dutt, who has stated that he has dedicated this film to his late father Sunil Dutt. Secondly, this marks the Marathi debut of an enviously talented actor – Deepak Dobriyal.
What’s Baba About:
It’s easy to spot similarities between Baba and Charlie Chaplin’s classic The Kid. Both the films show an impoverished father figure, who isn’t the child’s biological father, raising an abandoned boy. Baba is about a deaf-mute Madhav and Anandi parenting an 8-year-old Shankar, who is not their biological child. The three have a world of their own and the child shares a beautiful bond with this father. However, despite the fact that Shankar has no impediments, he cannot speak because his parents cannot teach him that. Since they cannot afford school, Shankar gets no education. It is revealed that years ago, Pallavi got pregnant out of wedlock and her son Shankar was given away without her consent. Pallavi, along with her husband Rajan, tracks her son down and approaches the court for his custody. Baba’s story goes on a trajectory that’s equal parts heartwarming, moving and intriguing.
Just Baba’s premise is enough to draw you towards the movie. The movie portrays emotions that break your heart, amuse you and even invoke a couple of heartfelt chuckles. Popular actors Spruha Joshi and Abhijeet Khandekar do a great job, just like we thought they would. Child actor Aaryan emotes like a pro and will absolutely impress you. Nandita Dhuri is a solid 10 and holds her own, even with a star-like Deepak Dobriyal in the scene. Dobriyal is a stunner and plays the deaf-mute doting father so well that your eyes well up an embarrassing number of times. He emotes with zero dialogue and his performance tugs at your heartstrings…hard! The music complements the movie perfectly and accentuates the narrative delicately. Manish Singh’s screenplay is a commendable effort. Raj Gupta has made a wholesome film, something we all can thoroughly enjoy.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The film starts off at a slightly slower pace but eventually grips you. A few logical loopholes may haunt you – like how did Shankar not learn how to speak at all? He does know people who speak. But it’s easy to ignore all these cinematic liberties because the film is a great experience overall.
Why You Should Watch:
Lately, we have been in awe at the gems that are being presented to us by Marathi cinema. Baba is totally under that category – substantial and beautifully executed. While the supporting cast is close to perfect, Baba largely rests on Deepak Dobriyal’s able shoulders and he shines in his moment.
Watch an interview of the film’s cast right here: