Cast: Nana Patekar,Iravati Harshe,Sumit Raghavan
Direction: Satish Rajwade
Vivek Bele is one of the best contemporary playwrights in Marathi. However, most of his plays are constructed out of amusing observations, and clever discussions rather than fast paced narratives. It all works very well for stage, but when his script is adapted to screen, it risks contradicting a typical audience expectation despite how intelligently it’s been crafted for stage. In case of Aapla Manus, adapted from Bele’s critically acclaimed play, Katkon Trikon, that doesn’t happen. The mystery behind this well conceived thriller keeps things moving nicely.
The film poses a riddle based on Rashomon effect, as it proceeds to weave theories and construct alternate versions of a single incident. The incident is a supposed accident of one Aba Gokhale, a senior citizen living with his son Rahul (Raghavan) and daughter in law Bhakti (Harshe). Maruti Nagargoje (Patekar), an officer of the law, arrives on the scene to investigate what actually happened. The film is structured around the individual statements of the characters, and the possible solutions proposed by the investigator.
One of the key issues with the film is the casting. While Sumit Raghavan and Iravati Harshe playing Rahul and Bhakti deliver solid performances, Nana Patekar’s twin role, is central to the success of the film. As the trailer has revealed, he plays the investigator Nagargoje, but he also plays another role of lesser length but equal weightage. One can question the need for these two roles to be played by the same actor, as there is no real connection between them, but the film provides enough logic to establish a thematic connection. Having said that, I will also add, that Nana Patekar is decidedly better in the role of Nagargoje than the other one, which edges towards being a caricature.