Another one of those Marathi films which I missed watching in a theatre and was keenly awaiting its OTT release of Chandramukhi. With an ensemble to die for, the film finally premiered on the OTT giant Amazon Prime a couple of days back. And last night I managed to finish Chandramukhi on Amazon Prime. Now despite me awaiting its OTT release, I did not watch its trailer as I wanted to be surprised by the film and its content. So then does Chandramukhi manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Chandramukhi is essentially a love story set against the background of politics in the 80s. The story is not very novel but it has an old world charm to it. Once I got to know about this basic concept, I was really interested in discovering how the makers would balance the love story and the political background. And this is where the screenplay stumbles a little. The screenplay standing at almost 160 minutes seemed that much bit longer to begin with and rightly so! For a story which was wafer thin, probably a good 20-25 minutes could have been cut right away from the screenplay.
The screenplay opens on a good note with the protagonist being on the brink of being an industrial minister. This until his past catches up. Cut to an extended climax which did feel organic to the writer’s credit. The entire sequence of the protagonist(who is married) meeting the courtesan(who is the other protagonist) seemed very real and poetic. Over a period of time, love blossoms and you do feel that connection too. But the writing gets overindulgent right away.
There are periods which are uneventful every now and then. Also the writing does get repetitive with the same story going about in circles. Even the balancing act with the politics bit is quite predictable leading up to the final act which is slightly preachy and cliched.
But there is much to like in the screenplay here. The complexities of relationships between characters especially the three main leads is very well explored. I am honestly a fan of exploring the dynamics of relationships and here the conflict was a perfect recipe for it. And I quite liked the intricacies of it which were soft and not over-bearing. So overall a decently penned screenplay which definitely has its moments.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are poetic and poignant although some lines are overdramatic. The music by Ajay-Atul is outstanding and one of the heroes of the film. This is a musical and the music retains the charm of the drama. Likewise the BGM which blends well with the drama which is unfolding onscreen. The cinematography is perhaps the biggest hero of the film. It captures some stunning visuals which makes the film look grand. Coupled with an outstanding production value, the film is visually very appealing. Director Prasad Oak(who was brilliant as an actor in Dharmaveer) has done a pretty good job in tapping at the nuances of delicate and fragile relationships. Although the drama overall could have been better executed but the way he gas handled the relationship dynamics is commendable.
The performances are outstanding here which keep the faltering drama consistently watchable! Surabhi Bhave as Meera, Smita Gondkar aa Manasi, Shivali Parab as the younger Chandramukhi and Prajakta Mali as Naina all have their moments to shine. Mohan Agashe as Dadasaheb Sasnodkar is natural to the core. Rajendra Shisatkar as Nana and Sameer Chowgule as Batasha are both excellent although the former did go a tad overboard in a few scenes. Neha Dandale as Lallan and Radha Sagar as Shevanta are first rate. Mrunmayee Deshpande as Dolly is brilliant and I loved the portrayal of the conflict which she was facing. I am a fan of Addinath Kothare and as Daulatrao Deshmane he is phenomenal. He takes you on a range of emotions which will leave you conflicted as an audience too. But it is Amruta Khanvilkar as Chandramukhi who is absolutely fabulous to watch. She is the soul of the film and she breathes a fresh lease of life to her character with a commanding screen presence!
Chandramukhi is visually stunning with solid performances which does compensate for the flaws in writing, making it a good one time watch. Available on Amazon Prime.