Movies based on social issues walk a very thin line. On either side of that line is a chasm of becoming a documentary or being preachy. Very few films are able to balance and keep to the line. Gabhricha Paus (2009) is one such film and very gracefully walked that line.
When you consider that this is the director’s debut, it makes it that much more impressive. Satish Manwar does not patronise the audience at any time, stays true to the subject and the story and guides you all along the narrative. There is a general awareness about farmer suicides and this film ran a good risk of being a documentary. However, the story makes smooth movements inside the heart of the farming family and the issue at large, with great ease. The presentation does due justice to the story. There are no jerks in the presentation and the performances support these very well.
The movie is not a documentary of the prevalence of farmer-suicides in Maharashtra, nor a backlash at the politics of the problem; neither does it offer a solution to the problem.
Girish Kulkarni is a treat to watch; he is in the league of those that are able to act without the need for dialogues or the need to make contorted faces every time an emotion passes them by. There is significant burden on the character, because the story relies heavily on him to manage the multiple transitions of the issue from the individual angst to the social problem. Sonali Kulkarni has done a good job, personally however, I cannot help but thinking that any role she does, there is a tad bit of over-acting and she is scared of completely becoming the character. There is an urban air to her which always hovers in her presence. The realistic of all performances however came from Jyoti Subhash and Madhukar Dhore. Jyoti merges into the role and the character as if you have mixed distilled water with distilled water. Madhukar Dhore (I haven’t been able to find much info about him) was my real hero, in the few minutes of screen presence he had in the movie.
Sudhir Palsane has done a good job with the camera, without any distracting gimmicks. The light play is wonderful; interestingly for such a serious subject, a significant part of the movie is shot in bright natural light.
After a long time, a movie that made its way straight in.