Thursday, July 17, 2014


I cannot really visualise Nana Patekar as Dr Prakash Amte, the social worker son of Baba Amte, who runs the Lok Biradari Prakalp, a project founded by his illustrious father Baba Amte, near a village called Hemalkasa, in Bhamragad taluka, in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. Hemalkasa is also the name of the film where Patekar plays Amte. Patekar looks nothing like Amte in the trailer of the film I saw the other day on Youtube, despite the fact Patekar does wear Amte’s trademark white short-pants and baniyan. In the pictures that I have seen, Amte looks benign, almost saintly. In the film, Patekar looks more determined. Then, in the trailer, he goes through a gamut of emotions, from utter anguish to utter anger.

Nonetheless, I am looking forward to seeing the film, hopeful in a big screen. For one thing, Prakash Amte is an important Indian story. What he is doing for the Madia Gond tribal community around Hemalkasa is nothing sort of extraordinary. The story of his wife, Mandakani, played in the film by Sonali Kulkarni, is equally important. Sonali Kulkarni is a brilliant actor, never mind that the Hindi film industry did not give her a chance (her last memorable appearance was Dil Chahta Hai, all those years ago), but has been doing good work in Marathi.

By the way, this film, written and directed by Samruddhi Porey, who won the Rajat Kamal for best feature film in Marathi for Mala Aai Vhhaychy! at the 58th National Film Awards in 2010, in Hindi. So, there is some hope. And when the story is so strong, with so many diverse threads, how can one go wrong?

The trailers shows the doctor imparting medical help to the disposed tribals, making friends with animals, and despairing over the state of affair. There is a love story between the doctor and his wife, there are the naxalite revolutionaries in the nearby forests, there are the tribal men with the bows… After all these, how can you go wrong?

The first reviews are out from London, and one Bodrul Chaudhury writes: “Though Hemalkasa has some poignant moments that will move you, I found that the film was not very strong and could have benefitted from a more robust script. Of course, the subject itself is an important one and this is something which has been well illustrated in many parts. Yet I found that the film was a bit rocky in places and required a smoother screenplay. Director Samruddhi Porey had in her hands a fascinating story that deserves to be told to the world. However, it’s a shame that this great story has not been narrated to the audience as effectively as it could have been. Having said this, the quality of the film with regards to cinematography, sound and lighting is very good considering that it has been made on a low budget.
More here:

No matter. I have going to see the film when it releases in India. I hope it does.

For the real story of Prakash Amte, see this Youtube video. The narration may be a little bit more flowery then I would like, but you’d get the story. VIEW HERE.

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