Verdict: A cinematically brilliant depiction of life’s struggles.
The Marathi film Kaasav (meaning turtle) made headlines early this year by winning the prestigious National Award for Best Feature Film. But it didn’t give much mileage to the film as the makers had their share of struggles in finding the right distribution platform. This happens to a lot of small-budget films – a trend that should change as we believe that all form of good art needs to be equally supported. And now when the film has reached the viewers – we can proudly say that it was worth the wait.
Niche (Aalok Rajwade) is not happy with his present life. His inability in finding the true meaning of life leads him to commit suicide. But destiny has some other plans and he is rescued by a group of people. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a hospital bed. This makes him more terrified and he escapes from the hospital. Janaki (Iravati Harshe) finds him collapsed on the roadside. She, along with her driver Yadu (Kishore Kadam), take him to her house. What follows next is a flawless depiction of personal and environmental behavior that influences us to make life-changing decisions.
The director duo Sunil Sukthankar and Sumitra Bhave draw our attention to the problem of “depression among the teenagers and youth”. Sumitra Bhave has brilliantly penned the screenplay and dialogues and has made us aware that such issues should be handled delicately. Niche, who was depressed in the beginning, slowly melts down by the love and affection given to him by Janaki and Yadu. Niche's slow yet steady transformation justifies the film’s title Kaasav, which is used as a metaphor.
It’s amazing to see Janaki and Yadu slowly becoming a pillar of strength for Niche. Certain scenes create both heart-wrenching and heart-warming moments. For instance, the scenes where mother sea-turtle lays the eggs on the shore and returns to the waters will surely touch your heart and soul. The scenes are so beautiful that it very evidently depicts life struggles right from the birth. The film could have gone haywire had both the lead cast Aalok Rajwade and Iravati Harshe failed in delivering a controlled and nuanced performance. Kudos to both of them. Kishore Kadam was a natural. We also see the veteran Dr. Mohan Agashe in a guest role. Though he is seen only in a few scenes – he still charms you as Dattabhai. A special mention to the cinematographer Dhananjay Kulkarni for capturing the turtle scenes aesthetically and making it live on celluloid.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Kaasav will change your perception towards life and will make you realize how beautiful life and our environment is. The film also highlights that one of the main reason for our depression is that we keep searching for things that are actually always near us. It’s a beautiful film which tells us that no problems in life are big enough to justify one ending one's life.