‘Vakratunda Mahakaaya’ is a genuine attempt made by the director Punarvasu Naik and the producers (one of them Anurag Kashyap) to depict the current scenario all around the world surrounding religion, gods, terrorism and most of all humanity.
Writer Yogesh Joshi has written the story very cleverly keeping it simple as well as thought provoking. There is very thin line between faith and superstition. Punarvasu made the viewers decide which side they want to be.
The story of Vakratunda Mahakaaya is very simple, but the screenplay keeps you bonded to the seat. A bomb planted by a terrorist in a Ganapati soft toy and what happens when instead of the bomb blast the toy attracts the attentions of people to do good and bad things for themselves. The Politician promptly says “देव आणि माणसाला एकमेकांबरोबर खेळायला जाम मजा येते!” (The God and Man have lots of fun playing with each other). In the end, the elderly man while telling the story of Ganapati’s birth, tells Altaf “We don’t know anything about God and Faith, but we pretend we know everything”. All good or bad things are not permanent and it’s a cycle, is the message what I decode it.
The film starts with a tick-tick sound (depicting time which never stops and a timer in a bomb) depicting a busy city life with all faiths. A man (Vijay Maurya) is carrying a soft toy Ganapati in a taxi and alights near a Ganesh Temple.
As we have seen in the trailer, it is no suspense that the toy has the bomb. The terrorist leaves the toy in the temple and it attracts attention of the Muslim homeless boy, Altaf (Naman Jain). He runs away the toy with him to his thief friend, Paplu (Nachiket Purnputre) and the terrorist is in pursuit to recover it. The terrorist is joined by his ally.
Since the Soft toy is God Ganapati, it exchanges hands and goes from one person to another. Everyone uses it to its own benefit out of faith, innocence, power, greed and superstition.
The story is fast-paced in the first half (45 mins) and slows down a little bit in the second half. There are many incidents depicting blind faith, which obviously could have been avoided.
This is the best casting in a story-driven movie and Mukesh Chhabra has done excellent job. Vijay Maurya as terrorist is realist. Naman Jain as Altaf is the central character with lots of emotions and dialogues. Nachiket Purnpatre as Paplu (we have seen him in Dil Dosti Duniyadari serial on Zee Marathi) is natural. Shashank Shende shines in a small role. Usha Nadkarni is shown as Papadwali Aajji and excels in range of emotions including helplessness and surprise. There are many actors in small roles, and everyone fits perfectly in the story. All actors look natural.
Punarvasu makes a directorial debut with Vakratunda Mahakaaya. His direction is fresh and there is scope of improvement especially dealing with the pace of the story and sticking to the main storytelling. Sometimes the story goes off track (may be to increase the time to make it a feature film). Mitesh Mirchandani’s Cinematography is excellent and he has shown some great visuals from Mumbai City. The camera movements in small lanes and on road chases are also excellent and suits very well with the story. Background music goes with the theme of the scene.
Vakratunda Mahakaaya is a simple story-telling of common people. It is shot very well with moderate pace. The suspense whether the bomb will explode or not, keeps you engaged all the time. As I said earlier, the film goes a little bit off-track to increase the screen time in second half. It is a one-time watch and should shine at box-office as it does not have any competition due to sole Marathi release this week.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Click the link for Movie Poster and Dialogues.
Movie: Vakratunda Mahakaaya
Producer: Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Sunil Bohra, Anshuman Jain
Director: Punarvasu Naik
Studio: Bohra Bros & Alumbra Entertainment
Casting By: Mukesh Chhabra
Cast: Vijay Maurya, Naman Jain, Shashank Shende, Rishi Deshpande, Nachiket Purnpatre, Jayant Sawarkar & Usha Nadkarni
Writer: Yogesh Vinayak Joshi
Music: Sanket Naik, Sankarshan Kini
DOP: Mitesh Mirchandani
Editing: Apurva Motiwale, Ashish Mhatre
Release Date: 25 Sept 2015
Duration: 92 Mins