Verdict: A powerhouse star cast propels this political drama in the right direction.

After giving us thorough entertainers like Double Seat, YZ, and Time Please, the writer-director duo Kshitij Patwardhan and Sameer Vidwans are back with Dhurala. This first Marathi release of 2020 is easily the most star-studded affair and a solid entertainer, not unlike their previous films.

What’s Dhurala About:

After a strong opening credits song, Dhurala introduces us to the Ubhe family. Nivrutti Ubhe, the sarpanch of Ambegaon, has just passed away and the seat is now empty for anyone’s taking. The two main contenders for this seat are Nivrutti’s son Dada (Ankush Chaudhari) and Harish Gadhve (Prasad Oak), Nivrutti’s defeated political rival. Dada starts campaigning with his very pregnant wife Monica (Sai Tamhankar) by his side. However, there are more ambitious players from the Ubhe family itself who want to make their mark in the village politics and clinch the coveted sarpanch title. Nivrutti’s widow Akkabai (Alka Kubal) is pushed as a woman candidate by the local MLA, thus making Dada take a backseat. Wife of Ubhe’s second son Hanumant (Siddharth Jadhav), Harshada (Sonalee Kulkarni) too wishes to contest. The family gets embroiled in a dirty game of one-upmanship, betrayal, games, and deals in order to reach their goal – political victory.

What Works:

Dhurala’s powerhouse of a star cast is its biggest strength. The film boasts of superlative actors like Ankush Chaudhari, Alka Kubal, Sai Tamhankar, Amey Wagh, Prasad Oak, Siddharth Jadhav, and Sonalee Kulkarni. When you step into the theatres for such a cast, the expectations are already soaring. And they come through for the audience. The performances are by far the best part of Dhurala. The central characters are written well and the cast plays them with utmost conviction. Dhurala presents intelligent women characters who are under the patriarchal thumb and the conflict is shown with intricacy. Apart from that, the film captures the tumultuous atmosphere around elections perfectly. The family bonds are shaken with each betrayal and it leaves you wondering how the tale will end. Dhurala elaborates on the conniving political maneuvers that the characters resort to and you wonder whether anyone in power is as clean as they appear to be. The dialogues are well-written and amusing, and even offer comic relief in places. Director Sameer Vidwans weaves not only a thrilling political tale but also an intriguing family drama.

What Could’ve Been Better:

The film is slightly melodramatic in places. Fewer sub-plotlines could’ve been totally avoided to reduce the film’s runtime and make it crisper. The villagers are shown to be naive and terribly powerless in a manner that seems unrealistic.

Why You Should Watch:

Dhurala’s star cast is its USP. With terrific actors in their best form, the film sells itself. Besides this, people who like watching political and family dramas must not miss the film. This convoluted tale of a strong family, the fight for power, and bare betrayal is definitely worth a watch.