Natsamrat is a tribute to a bygone era of Marathi theater which was probably the last great art movement that shaped the texture of the society it inhabited and which it took inspiration from. Life has since moved on and theater has become relegated to the margins of society but a glimpse of what it was capable of has been presented in this great work of art which should become a classic in time. It tells the story of a once - celebrated giant of the stage whose retirement from theater also starts the beginning of his fall from glory into a miserable state of existence, bought about by ungrateful children and a society that has retreated further into its hypocrisy and shallowness. It has no need of a larger than life actor who lives his life with much of the flair and celebration and truthfulness with which he decorated the roles of the great tragedians of the past. Impotent political correctness and circumspect sheepishness is now the order of the day where truth of any kind is banished and manipulative strategies are encouraged, indeed celebrated. Whereas this larger critique of society and a lone man's fight is nothing new to cinema or art, Natsamrat's unique claim to greatness comes from its brilliant synthesis of searching dialogues and superb acting. There are outstanding exchanges between Vikram Gokhale and Nana Patekar musing on the nature of life and its trials. For our generation raised on easy clichés of feel good relationships, these two actors show what the essence of a truly honorable friendship over years really is. The culmination of this brilliant friendship invokes the famous dialogue from the Mahabharata in which Karna questions Krishna on the unjust nature of Fate and Krishna begs forgiveness. A more memorable display of acting will be difficult to find. Its a testament to the acting prowess of Nana Patekar that he is able to take on a role which has been considered a milestone in Marathi theater for decades now. The tragic story of an actor is shown through his identification and questioning of the great roles he has performed. He reminiscences of Lear whose folly and tragic pain mirrors his own. Theatre we are shown is not just a means of entertainment but a profound mirror in which we can seek answers to life's most difficult questions, including the greatest of them all: What's the purpose of life itself ? Its another question whether we have the desire to seek these answers. A society is defined by the questions it asks and not necessarily by the solutions it invents. Out great misfortune today is that we don't question the mysteries of existence anymore. The film deals with many more issues of life, death, suffering and the paradoxical depth and shallowness of the actor. Mention must be made of Medha Manjrekar who plays the dignified stoical wife whose self effacing dedication to her husband is only matched by her lifelong resolve to protect him. She keeps having high temperatures, perhaps because she always takes the storms on herself. A film that should be seen many many times.
Drama / Family
Drama / Family
After he retires, an aging theatre actor and his wife begin to feel unwanted by their children.
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April 2, 2019