Mi Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy Movie Review
Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy (It’s me, Shivajiraje Bhosale speaking) is a blockbuster! Released early this month, this Marathi film, written by Mahesh Manjrekar of Astitva fame, and directed by Santosh Manjrekar is running to packed houses.
I liked it. It’s entertaining. It has a message. Rather, many messages. And it’s not a hate movie, far from it. It’s a movie that handles the subject of “outsiders” in Maharashtra in the most sensitive way possible and entertains you in the bargain.
The story is about an ordinary, laid back middle class middle aged Maharashtrian man by the name of Dinkar Bhosale (Sachin Khedekar). Everywhere he goes he finds that “outsiders” are prospering. Whether it’s the man from the south who is running a successful restaurant the man from the north who is a builder, they have all the money and all the status and the power. Maharashtrians are nowhere. And as for Bhosle, he is just a clerk in a bank. His son Rahul (Abhijeet Kelkar) cannot get admission in engineering college because he lacks the lakhs for the capitation fee, and his daughter Shashikala (Priya Bapat) cannot get a film role because she is not “north Indian” enough. Bhosle’s daily life consists of receiving taunts and insults not just at work (his character reminded me of Jim Carrey’s from The Mask) and from waiters and vegetable vendors but also from his own wife Sumitra (Suchira Bandekar). This is driving him over the edge and has started to make him hate his Maharashtrian “Ghati” identity. Dinkar Bhosle is angry, very angry, and blames the “outsiders” who have settled in Maharashtra. They, Bhosle feels, are responsible for his own sorry state.
But enter Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, (Mahesh Manjrekar) the brave king who successfully fought off foreign invaders in his lifetime (1664 – 1680) and Bhosale’s life transforms! No one can see Shivaji, except Bhosale. The same kind technique that one saw in Munnabhai Lage Raho, where Mahatma Gandhi comes to the aid of Munna. However Me Shivaji Rao Bhosale is a serious movie, not a comedy like MLR, although it does have its funny moments. Shivaji can be taken to represent Bhosale’s conscience, his inner strength, his pride in himself. Shivaji wakes Dinkar Bhosle out of his lethargy and tells him to take responsibility for his life.
Shivaji reminds Bhosale of the great legacy of Maharashtra, of the great leaders past and tells him that if Maharashtrians are being sidelined then it is because they deserve it. The Marathi manoos has become lazy and defeatist. Instead of blaming others he needs to wake up, show some courage, take some risks, get off his ass. Quite different from the MNS ideology which wants to hand over jobs to Maharashtrians on a platter!
Shivaji tells Dinkar Bhosale that he needs to fix things himself just once, but throughout the movie Dinkar Bhosale does things himself to improve his lot (with Shivaji simply guiding him). The rest of the message is delivered through the action.
Also, this movie refers to anybody who has been born and brought up in Maharashtra and speaks Marathi as a Maharashtrian, whether he is from UP or Tamil Nadu, whether he is Muslim or Hindu.
Besides the outsider issue, the movie tackles the dangerous virus that has gripped Maharashtra – the corruption in government departments and in politics. Maharashtrians fill these office and it is the Maharashtrians who are shown to have become corrupt. Bhosle, with Shivaji guiding him, tries to waken their pride in themselves, their dignity and self-respect.
Yes, the movie is jingoistic, and moralises a little too much. And the messages are hammered in till you can take it no more! But well, I think this is one movie that is needed. The spectre of Shivaji works.
The movie is entertaining in typical Bollywood ishtyle, with larger than life heroes and villains, the stereotyping of women, the inevitable bloody fight scene tagged in at the end, song and dance, and some emotional verbiage. Overall though the movie is a feel-good movie, and not just for Maharashtrians. It doesn’t denigrate any community. If anything it makes fun of the typical middle class Marathi manoos, a man who is afraid to speak his language, ashamed of his surname, afraid to speak up, and afraid to take any risks to better himself. He is simply a stubborn man not willing to look beyond his nose and is therefore unable to compete and succeed.
This movie is a must-see not just for every Maharashtrian but also for anyone living in Maharashtra. It’s not a piece of cinematic art, but it’s good fun! A social film packed in commercial wrapping paper.
(Photo credits: msrb2.com)
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