Happy Journey: Film Review – Siblings are forever

In the recent years, Marathi cinema has been constantly pushing the envelope. There are new stories and amazing talent. Happy Journey makes use of a unique style of film-making to give the audience something fresh and quirky.

Niranjan Naik (Atul Kulkarni) is a bitter 30-something man who comes home for his sister’s funeral. He is appalled at the way everyone around him is breaking down, as he was too distant to be bothered. So imagine his shock when his sister, Janiki (Priya Bapat), appears to him inside an old minivan and talks to him like she never passed away.

One of the most moving scenes in the film is when Janiki tells Niranjan that she stayed back for him, so that they could connect, talk and take trips together like normal siblings. This is because Niranjan has always been away from his family, in order to support them. But he never bothered to emotionally connect with them. Even when his sister was dying of blood cancer. Realizing that he messed up, Niranjan decides to stay back and follow his sister on this crazy journey.

Together, the siblings set out to make things right. They fix up the minivan, and set out to reconnect with Niranjan’s long-lost love and reconciling along the way. The film is set mostly in Goa, thereby benefiting heavily from the gorgeous locales. The cinematography of the movie is also one of its strongest points. DOP Rangarajan Ramabadran uses amazing shots to capture myriad shades that leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. But there are times, where the story starts to head into unwanted territories, stealing the film of its perfect pace. At other times, it gets melodramatic, as if writer-director Sachin Kundalkar  wants to force his audience to cry. 

Atul Kulkarni plays the role of Niranjan perfectly, with a subtle transformation from aloof to chirpy, displaying his tremendous range as an actor. However, the biggest surprise is Priya Bapat’s portrayal of the adventurous and internet-savvy Janiki. She is the force that drives the movie even when it begins to falter. Pallavi Subhash, as Nirnajan’s love interest,  is shy and lights up the screen with her presence. 

Why should you watch this film?

Happy Journey is a unique and heartwarming story about a brother-sister relationship. It will leave you smiling, with your eyes moist at several occasions. But the film also succumbs to sentimentality, which could have been toned down. You should watch the film to witness how Marathi cinema has progressed over the years, and embraced offbeat genres as well.

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