It is still a Thursday and I did have this very day to scout for films before the big weekend is underway. And I decided to place my bet on a Marathi film which was long awaited on an OTT platform! With that, I finished watching the new Marathi film Me Vasantrao which is now streaming on Jio Cinema. Before getting into the review, a huge shoutout to Jio Cinema for purchasing the rights of the film in times when no OTT platform was interested in releasing the film.
The film had released theatrically way back in April 2022 and since then there were no signs of its OTT release. The way things were headed, I had almost regretted not venturing in a theatre to watch the film which was praised from all quarters. I still remember watching the Round Table last year where the director of Me Vasantrao had admitted to the fact that no OTT platform was interesting in releasing his film. That statement in itself was heartbreaking, up until Jio Cinema came into the picture. A biopic on the life of the legendary musician Vasantrao Deshpande, does Me Vasantrao do justice to his craft, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Me Vasantrao is a rousing biopic on the life of legendary Indian Classical Musician Vasantrao Deshpande. And notice how I have already introduced the word rousing in the first line, because that is the best way to introduce this film which is filled with music and divinity. The story here is so well written that it hits straight through your heart and into your soul. The screenplay standing at nearly 3 hours might seem to be a daunting task, but once you enter the world of Vasantrao Deshpande, it will seem like a meditative trance that will calm you to the core.
The drama does open with the introduction of the protagonist who is hinted at being ill and is about to take centerstage for possibly the last time. He is seen talking to an individual by narrating the story of his life post which the drama takes you on an extended flashback. Each portion of the flashback is laced with divinity in what is the purest art form ever! The drama does comprise of various events in the life of the protagonist beginning from his childhood wherein he is blessed with an artform that is so pure that he is almost destined for greatness. Yet, life as they say is not a bed of roses even for the best. And that is what the drama does highlight going forward.
The proceedings are engaging and engrossing given how beautifully the events unfold. Amidst the obstacles that life throws at the protagonist, there are always ‘angels’ around him that help him through the various phases in his life, be it his immediate family in the form of his mother and wife or his friend and other music maestros who provide him the right kind of education to polish his craft. And these events collectively touch your heart to no bounds. I was amazed at the parallels that could be drawn from the bygone era with the current times in which even the best had to take up an odd job to make ends meet. This also did showcase the vulnerability and uncertainty on behalf of the protagonist given how life was shaping up for him. Even the struggles that an artist has to undergo is beautifully showcased that reminded me of the Marathi film The Disciple.
Even in the darkest times in the film, the underlying message is that if you keep trying opportunities will come your way in a path which is otherwise filled with nails. Biopics can get a little tricky with the representation of the individual but here, the creative decision to keep the base as the music did pay off, as even some of the stray incidents in the drama did make for a divide experience. I found myself being filled with calmness that made all the tensions around me disappear as I was witness to one of the most moving biopics of recent times. The Katyar Kaljat Ghusali reference in the final act was like a little cherry on top. But it was that rousing final act that did send me in an absolute trance wherein I didn’t even realise when tears started to roll down my cheeks. It was one of the most magical moments that I had witnessed in cinema since the bridge sequence in RRR. Overall, the screenplay is moving and laced with divinity of the highest order.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational and they make for a heartfelt impact. The music is the soul of the film in so many ways than one. It is probably after a very long time that I have witnessed it in its purest form that did end up giving me goosebumps. The BGM is beautiful and it enhances the drama in every frame. The cinematography is excellent and it captures the drama brilliantly with some loveky camera angles. The editing is razor sharp right throughout. Director Nipun Dharmadhikari does full justice to the craft of Vasantrao Deshpande. He creates moments of intrigue and fascination in what was a beautifully woven biopic. The fact that I was invested in the drama throughout meant that the director deserves distinction marks.
The performances are excellent here. Amey Wagh as the legendary Deenanath Mangeshkar shines in a heartfelt cameo. Kaumudi Walokar as Vimal is wonderfully restraint and a silent support to her husband. Sarang Sathaye as Shankarrao Sapre is endearing. Durga Jasraj as Begum Akhtar and Pushkaraj Chirputkar as Purushottam Laxman Deshpande are excellent in their respective roles. Anita Date Kelkar as Vasantrao’s mother is fiery but filled with love and care and she is wonderful to witness. Rahul Deshpande as Vasantrao Deshpande is absolutely brilliant in every sense of the word. He lives every speck of the character and breathes life into it. It was such an emotionally moving performance that I ended up giving him a round of applause(while sitting in my living room) at the end of the film.
Me Vasantrao is a brilliant biopic filled with music and divinity that will leave you in a trance. Needless to say that it comes with my highest recommendation. Available on Jio Cinema and Highly Recommended.