Dr. Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero (2014)

What do you call a cross between a biopic, documentary, and a feature film? Well, whatever you call it, that is what Dr. Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero is. Someone on Facebook or Twitter reviewed this movie in a single sentence, a phrase almost: Great movie, bad title. (Or something to that effect, It is a big pain to search in Facebook, so, I will not try). The reason I put up that phrase is that I agree with it. At the same time, I cannot, in the absence of any authority, tell you what it should have been called.

I loved the movie.

Dr Prakash Baba Amte The Real Hero

Somewhere in my head, I loved it even before I entered the theatre. The lead role is played by Nana Patekar; I have great respect for that man. Very few people can make their presence felt without saying a single word. As far as intense performances go, he is one of the best. I am not a big fan of Sonali Kulkarni; I have always thought she has a tendency to over-emote. Note: I said over-emote, not over-act. After this movie, I have changed my opinion about her somewhat; except for a couple of scenes, she has done a good job. She feels real.

There is obvious dramatisation in the movie, but it has been used for good effect. That effect, is, however, to dilute the stark reality of the life of the protagonist. In its raw form, I doubt if we city-dwellers could have digested it.

Marathi movies and production quality: If I ever review a Marathi film, production values have to account in the review. US location and you use the Kohinoor hotel, in Andheri East, Mumbai? Fair enough, lack of budget, I am OK with it. Take some effort to mask the obvious. That’s my only peeve about the movie, really. The only reason, why I took away one star in my IMDB rating.

I will not even begin to question how Dr. Prakash Amte lived his life; I accept the hanging of saline bottles on tree trunks because I have no idea about how he lived his life. This movie gave me an insight into his life. The fact that I know that Nana Patekar is good friends with Dr. Prakash Amte, I took up the entire film on face value. And while I am an otherwise stoic person, I experienced the travails and cried in this movie.

There. I said it.

Something has to be said of the tears, though. They were never gushing; the eyes were swollen on continuous basis, even when I laughed during some scenes. The movie is a festival of faces. The protagonist’s faces and those that keep making their way in and out of the movie, lending credence to the protagonists. It’s a festival of places. It’s a festival of emotions. Not the festival of fire-crackers; however; a quiet one — one of emotions, motivation, and resolve.

Parts of the movie are gory. If you have young children, avoid taking them to the theatre. Your children might ask questions, you may not find it easy to answer. But the gory-ness is in perfect context and adds useful meaning to the film. And because it is the truth, more so.

The following note has nothing to do about this movie, but about Marathi movies in general:

I have no idea why, but this movie has English subtitles. (At least at INOX, where I saw it). That was a master stroke. Non-Marathi audiences can enjoy the film in almost the same way that Marathi audience can enjoy it. There is so much more in this film than meets the eye, but it cannot be included in this review.

Definite watch. It’s tax-free (if it matters to you). These are the filmmakers I would want to become wealthy and cross the magical Rs. 100-crore mark.

If nothing, it is an insight into a wonderful and an inspirational life. But do not attempt to live such a life; one thing that will become obvious after you see this film, it takes much more than simple motivation to live such a life.

These movies are not descriptions of social markers. They are a life-size question marks that we often see in mirrors. Enough said.

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