Onto the next release of this crowded weekend and I finished watching the new Marathi film Dharmaveer streaming on Zee5. After a thunderous theatrical run, I was keenly awaiting this film on OTT although I knew nothing about the subject. It was only minutes before starting the film yesterday that I got to know that this is a biopic on the late Shiv Sena Leader Anand Dighe whom I knew very little off(given he had passed away in 2001 when I was just a kid). Given the track record of the biopics, filmmakers tend to whitewash the image of the person on whom the biopic is being made. Seldom do we see a balanced narrative. Now I used to have a problem on that but I would like to change my ground slightly. I would be talking about the film in general without bothering too much about whitewashing the image of the protagonist. Because if we were to make that an issue with every other film then some stories would get lost. So then does Dharmaveer manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Dharmaveer is the biopic on the late politician Anand Dighe who was instrumental to the success of Shiv Sena. The story definitely does whitewash the image of the protagonist here but as I said that ain’t an issue for me(unless it is extremely overdone). First thing that I liked about the drama was the template of the biopic. It begins with a funeral procession where a reporter doesn’t have high views of the protagonist. This structure forms a pretty interesting premise for things to follow! The screenplay standing at almost 3 hours is an overwhelming sight but thankfully it comprises of several moments which will keep you invested.
The screenplay traces the life of the protagonist after he is given control of the Thane district in Mumbai. One flaw(if I can call it one) was that the screenplay seemed disjointed with different events of Anand Dighe integrated in the screenplay which jumps from one event to the other. This took me sometime to settle into the film which began with a Hindu Muslim issue which felt really one-sided(there is a nice redemption though right at the end). It is at this point that I felt a mild agenda creeping in but credit to the writers for steering clear of it. Once I was privy with the structure of the narrative oscillating between the present and the past, I began enjoying the film a lot more.
The parts where the film scores the most is in the heaetwarming moments in the life of Anand Dighe – be it his service to the people or his heartwarming bond between Balasaheb Thackeray or people from his own group. There are moments like these which will fill you up with a lot of emotions as they are so well shot and executed. Even the redemption of the protagonist helping a Muslim man and giving out a message that all of us are one is beautifully executed. In between the twists and turns(for people like me who aren’t privy of his life) are engrossing and eventful. The entire hospital sequence was also quite enthralling and it keeps you booked throughout. The screenplay here is quite well written with several heart touching moments.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are powerful and they create an instant stir. The music is excellent here as is the BGM and they compliment the drama very well. The cinematography comprises of some breathtaking visuals and aerial shots but there are times where a sudden zoom in and out doesn’t help its cause. The editing is fair although at times slightly choppy. Director Pravin Tarde best known for Mulshi Pattern has done a phenomenal job here. He is able to tactfully tap into many events of the protagonist without much hassle. And to top it, he maintains a firm grip on the narrative thereby holding your attention throughout.
The performances here are excellent by the ensemble cast. Snehal Tarde as Anita Birje has her moments to shine as does Abhijeet Khandkekar as Dadaji Bhuse, Sushant Shelar and Mangesh Desai. Makarand Padhye as Balasaheb Thackeray is exceptional. Gashmeer Mahajani as Sameer looks very handsome and has a charming presence. He is quite sincere in his performance. Shruti Marathe as Tanvi looks pretty and she does a terrific job. Vijay Nikam as Mo Da is brilliant and natural to the core. Kshitish Dave as Eknath Shinde delivers a heartfelt performance and his bond with the protagonist is very well explored. Prasad Oak as Anand Dighe is exceptional from the word go! You needed a solid performer to pull off this performance and he delivers a powerful performance in a memorable outing!
Dharmaveer is a rousing biopic packed with several heartfelt moments which definitely makes it a good watch. Available on Zee5.