With great expectations you sit down to watch this movie for it is Riteish Deshmukh’s debut Marathi film. You are as excited as the chatty teenager sitting next to you who has been incessantly ranting about her hopes from the film. As the frames start rolling, it unfurls a story of an “ordinary”, royal family of Nimbalkars. The men of this family are way too noble but it works just fine for the film.

Being born in this family, Riteish Deshmukh, the Prince of the family makes a splendid entry with a song that’s shot on a foreign location and has firangi babes, with their long, shiny legs, and are looming in the frame around Deshmukh. This Prince of the Nimbalkar family is a blessing of Lord Vithala, a child born after 9 years to his parents Pratap Singh Nimbalkar and Sumitra Devi Nimbalkar. Sumitra Devi after being persistently tagged as infertile when takes the Holy foot pilgrimage (Vaari) to Pandharpur and confronts Lord Vithal, asking him to bestow her with a child; she is granted her wish. But in haste she promises to give away what’s been gifted. She vows to offer her first born to Lord Vithal. However, a tiff with her husband changes her mind. But what is to be given will be taken away. The animosity between Pratap Singh and his brother leads to a feud between the two families. What ensues thereafter is a cycle of gambit with murders and melodrama galore. At the crux of it, this films is a revenge-drama.

Despite this being a typical Bollywood-esque film that has a highly predictable storyline, the 157:40 minutes long film has many elements that are worth praising. Although Ajay-Atul‘s magic of music fails to cast a spell, yet Mauli is the song that turns out to bring peace to one’s mind. What is worth appreciating is the prominence that has been given to cinematography and direction with every minute detail taken care of. What one takes back home is the picturesque shots of the foot pilgrimage, the beauty of which only gets amplified when seen on the celluloid. The film recreates the magic of Vaari in a way that makes you want to take this foot pilgrimage at least once in your lifetime.

Speaking of the performances, while the supporting cast does their bit, Sharad Kelkar alongside Riteish Deshmukh steal the limelight. Arms akimbo Deshmukh takes mighty stance, much like Lord Vithal, throughout the film while Kelkar plays the vile antagonist. Kelkar’s prowess as an actor is sure to earn accolades for it reflects when he stands so perfectly in the shoes of antagonist. The film has one too many surprise elements which pop up every now and then, Salman Khan’s entry as bhau being one among them.

The unnecessary flashbacks in the second half of the film and the abrupt cuts that jump into other scenes are mood spoilers. However, the film takes off in the second half with Deshmukh giving a stupefying performance as Mauli. Sanjay Pawar should take a bow as he has done a handsome job with the dialogues that we hear in the second half of the film. The second half of the film has many sequences that are likely to pull off an applause from the audience, and may be a whistle or two. The film is more about serendipity, and in the season of festivities when many take the ever-so-auspicious foot pilgrimage, the film will definitely be a crowd puller.

Why should you watch this film?

Overall, despite being a run-of-the-mill story, the film establishes Riteish Deshmukh in Marathi Cinema. And with the punches that he has pulled in this film, he is likely to be hailed as the Salman Khan of Marathi cinema.

By Siddhi Palande

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