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Marathi Film Review
Film: Taptapadi: Emotive period Drama
Cast: Veena Jamkar, Kashyap Parulekar, Shruti Marathe, Neena Kulkarni
Director: Sachin Balram Nagargoje
Rating: * * *
Love, devotion and sacrifice are an integral part of this emotive period drama inspired by Guru Rabindranath Tagore’s short story titles ‘Drustidaan,’ directed by Sachin Balram Nagargoje. The narrative derives it’s strengths from the age old culture, values and human intricacies of society that were in practice much before India attained her freedom. The period setting is facilitative if not impeccable while the costumes and styles lend an old-world charm to the proceedings. This film is an intimate study of two individuals who fall in love, get married and then find themselves floundering in a sea of inequities caused by a honest desire to please the other.
Meera(Veena Jamkar) who lost her mother when she was a kid , has been brought up by her aunt who has a son, Madhav(Kashyap Parulekar), studying to become a doctor. Meera and Madhav have been close since childhood and when they attain their teens they fall in love and decide to get married. Since Madhav has yet to complete his studies, Meera is expected to stay back at home in the village. But the lovers are not content living separately and soon they decide to live together. Meera gets pregnant and has a miscarriage. Soon after her miscarriage she finds herself afflicted with an eye infection which her husband who has not yet been certified, decides to treat himself. The experiment goes wrong and Meera is forced to consult a specialist who tells them that it’s too late to save Meera’s eyesight. Meera resigns herself to her fate and casts no blame on her loving husband while he, burdened by guilt is unable to cope with the changed equation between them. He sets her up on a pedestal while she continues to crave for his love and affection-which he is unable to fulfill. Right at that point of crisis, walks in their great aunt(Neena Kulkarni) who suggests that Madhav should marry again. But Madhav , at first vigorously rebuffs that suggestion as he had already promised Meera that he will continue to serve her as a loyal and true husband. But the great aunt has already set things in motion by inviting an unmarried relative, a learned young woman of 19 yrs who is considered past marriageable age, into their home. Madhav is in conflict. He is unable to see Meera as a flesh and blood woman while his great aunt has brought temptation to his door.
How the misunderstandings are cleared out and Madhav and Meera rekindle their love for each other forms the basis for the rest of the story.
The narrative starts out a bit hesitantly but once Madhav and Meera get married, the tempo picks up, the pace becomes inveigling and the drama gets thicker. Nagargoje handles the niceties in the relationships with a lot of care and concern. Veena Jamkar, Kashyap Parulekar and Shruti Marathe give solid competent performances but it’s Neena kulkarni who steals the show with her assured matriarch persona- one who knows what is good for her young relatives and does not flinch from calling it as she sees fit. Nagargoje’s deft handling of emotions and drama make the experience both fulfilling and entertaining. Santosh Swarnakar’s shaded cinematography is enrapturing-drawing you into the moods of the moment with disarming grace. Nagorgoje has modified the original story a bit and he does it quite effectively without losing out on the central point. Nagargoje and Madhugandha Kulkarni’s dialogues are punchy (when required) and effective. All in all this is a very assured dramatic effort- one that will draw you in and slowly and steadily into it’s varied moods and moments!