It is still a Tuesday and I am late to join the bandwagon of the latest Marathi Blockbuster film! With that I finished watching the new Marathi film Ved which is the official adaptation of the Telugu film Majili. The film marks the debut of Riteish Deshmukh as the director and that was one aspect that did make me curious on what he has to offer!
One of the reasons for getting to this film a little later than usual was because of two reasons. One, because I had watched Majili days before Ved’s theatrical release which meant that Majili was still fresh in my mind. And two, because I had found Majili just about above average. You have to take note that Majili is a 2019 product which is pre-pandemic and so something which may have worked then may not necessarily work now. Having consumed a lot of content in recent time, I found Majili to be stereotypical with a watered down Kabir Singh like protagonist in the second half. The writing was patchy and very convenient for my liking. And all these factors did contribute to me delaying watching Ved as I really did want to give the film a fair chance despite knowing what to expect. I finally took the plunge last night, is Ved worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
An official adaptation of the Telugu film Majili, Ved follows the story of lost in love protagonist who doesn’t feel the love for his wife till his past begins to catch up with him. The story here is decent but if you have watched the original Majili then you would know exactly how this film would unfold. The screenplay standing at almost a 150 minutes does seem slightly long but I must admit it does make for a pleasant watch due to its spectacular music.
First things first, this is NOT a frame to frame copy of Majili, it is an adaptation which is real good news to begin with. The drama is essentially of the two halves. It opens with a grief-stricken protagonist guiding his team to victory against the unfair tactics of the opposition backed by a local politician(with the backdrop of some hilarious commentary doing the rounds). Soon a flash back further enunciates his character and the character dynamics with the people around him. We get to know his passion for cricket and his ultimate cricketing ambitions. This until he falls in love! It is here that the viewer is submitted to a sweet little love story that does pack in every ingredient of a mass masala entertainer. So there is passion, aggression, comedy and action, all of it packaged in a decent first half.
The drama is fairly engaging and engrossing but one vital difference between Ved and Manjili was the music that does add a lot of soul to the former, something that was lacking in the latter. The drama is fairly predictable going through a standard template for a love story. Even for viewers who may not have watched the original, the twist at the halfway mark would be predictable given how the promotion of the film centered around the real husband-wife duo of Riteish and Genelia. But even at this point, I did not seem to mind any of the proceedings which were moving about smoothly.
It is the second half that has a little more soul than the first although my issue was that the stakes weren’t really raised in both Majili and Ved. But here in particular, there are genuinely heartfelt moments where the chemistry between the pair is infectious. The proceedings do mellow down from the highly intense first half where the focus here is on the amendment of relationships while acknowledging the past. The events are light and breezy although you would easily be able to predict where the drama is headed. The tenderness in the screenplay is what I did find more fascinating as compared to the original. I did feel that the second half did have a little more scope to pack in some more emotions but it prefers to be safe(and again nothing drastically wrong with it). The final act is simplistic but I did enjoy its execution a lot more here. There was an effort to make it slightly more layered and heartfelt. So overall, some of the mistakes in Majili are rectified in Ved that definitely makes a case for a better rendition.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are heartfelt and quite well penned especially in the second hour. The music by Ajay-Atul is that one differentiating factor that sets Ved drastically better than the original Majili. The soundtrack is beautiful, signifying every iota of emotion beautifully. If the songs aren’t integrated well, I happen to be distracted during that period, but here the songs are a breath of fresh air, that not only make you root for both the couples(in the first and second half) but the tunes also make their way into your soul through your heart. The soundtrack will definitely feature on my playlist going forward. The BGM is also really soulful, adding texture to the otherwise predictable drama. The cinematography is good, as is the editing. Director Riteish Deshmukh makes an impressive debut here. You can make out early on that he has just procured the skeleton of Majili and made it his own here. He does create some tender moments in both the love stories that did hold my attention. His direction was pretty good here!
The performances by the ensemble cast is outstanding here. Ashok Saraf as Dinkar is hilariously brilliant and he was in his full elements here. It was a pleasure watching him onscreen. Shubhankar Tawde is first rate here. Jiya Shankar as Nisha has a magnetic screen presence and does a phenomenal job here. I really wish to watch more of her going forward. I was the happiest seeing Genelia Deshmukh back onscreen. As Shravani, she is quietly charming only occasionally flashing her disarming smile. But the amount of emotions that she brings to the table is just brilliant(yes, she did seem slightly uncomfortable mouthing lines in Marathi but I shall let that pass). She is brilliant and shares crackling chemistry with her real and reel husband Riteish Deshmukh who is outstanding as Satya. His character was more about the body language, almost like two distinct characters packaged in a single film. He is really effective in communicating the right kind of emotions leading to a nice little character arc. I was the happiest watching Riteish and Genelia perform together once again, 20 years after the sleeper hit Tujhe Meri Kasam that marked the beginning of this ever-loving couple!
Ved, in all probability, is a better rendition of the original film Majili with some outstanding music and its performances making it a good one time watch. Available in a theatre near you.