72 Miles – Ek Pravas : Film Review

Before writing about the film, I was forced to think about the immensely powerful film I’d only just watched. A film which gives lessons of life and teaches one the value of patience and determination. I am sure you shall feel the same when you watch this movie.

Based on a novel of the same name, the film is a story of a tender heart, Ashok Vatkar. The novel written by Vatkar is his memoir. He being the central character is also the most charismatic of the lot. Being a notorious child when Vatkar is sent to a boarding school, he rebels. Escaping the confines of the school he embarks on a journey to head home. The journey between Satara and Kolhapur teaches him many things and he imbibes in himself the virtue of a careful yet carefree life. On this journey, a sole soul treads the path in the process of which he comes across things which are hurtling and life changing. It is these circumstances which made Ashok Vatkar a respected novelist.

Being a Rajeev Patil venture, the film certainly has spaces which boils up our emotions and makes us wince. The turmoil the characters onscreen go through reaches the audience and leaves a great impact. The film is one-of-a-kind and you take home most of its preaching. A penniless child takes up the challenge to face the world on his own makes up the crux of the film’s story. Thriving the distance of 72 miles on foot, the child is beaten up, stolen from, is forced to beg, witnesses death, feels pain yet accomplishes a big feat. When Ashok meets Radhaka his life changes for good. Bred in poverty she has lost to life yet fights each day. On her journey to her mother’s place she sees her infant die, heartlessly buries him and then her elder son too leaves the mortal world. Poverty makes her give up her chastity but she does that only so as to earn bread for her hungry kids. Each time Radhika falls, it is only to stand up once again and give a tough fight to the blazing storm called life. Ashok sees all of this and learns. From a notorious boy, Ashok, emerges as a sensible young man.

National award-winning director, Rajiv Patil has done a fabulous job with the direction of the film. The film captures the contours of the beautiful interiors of Maharashtra. The camera angles enhance the beauty of the picture. The storytelling makes a huge impression on the viewers’ point of view as it underlines the story from protagonist’s eyes. Being a story of a child, the film retains that flavor accentuating it timely through the songs, background score, the expressions (Ashok’s face lighting up, in particular) and the dialogues. When Radhaka becomes the answers to the frequent innocent questions asked by Ashok, the dialogues become hard-hitting. They make you introspect. When Radhaka compromises to circumstances she utters, “Paani vadaya jaat astiya; chamdya la chamda ghasayla nastiya…,” that makes one cringe and gives gooseflesh. The words being true to life mean “to offer water they bring up the caste but when it comes to flesh, they don’t think about caste even once…” The language is subtle yet sober. The dialect used is very local and brings out the rustic tang of the film.

Talking about the acting skills of the characters – child protagonist played by Chinmay Sant and Radhaka played by Smita Tambe – gave heart-warming performances. Smita does justice to her character of a poverty-stricken, life-shunned mother of five. Her affection towards each of her children as well as Ashok reflects and reaches out. Chinmay Sant needs to be lauded for his performance. His innocence and love of Radhaka leaves audience teary-eyed towards the climax.

This 95 minutes 29 second long film is not just entertainment but a preacher brought forth. From storytelling to acting, from direction to cinematography, from love to loss, from glee to gloom, it shows all the hues of life and is a must watch.

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Siddhi Palande: