15 Jul 2016
Astu Marathi Movie Review| Dr. Mohan Agashe, Milind Soman, Iravati Harshe, Amruta Subhash| Sumitra Bhave-Sunil Sukhtankar
Star Cast : Dr. Mohan Agashe , Iravati Harshe , Milind Soman , Amruta Subash ,Nachiket Purnapatre , Devika Daftardar & Ila Bhate
Producer : Sheelaa Rao & Dr.Mohan Agashe
Story & Screenplay : Sumitra Bhave
Director : Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukhtankar
Music : Saket Kanetkar
Cinematography : Milind Jog
Editor : Mohit Takalkar
Like: Masterful performance by Mohan Agashe; the multi-layered screenplay and solid acting by nearly every other member of the cast like Irawati Harshe and Amruta Subhash.
Dislike: Milind Soman is awkward in the role of the husband of Ira; his Marathi doesn’t sound like someone born and brought up in Pune. The sub-plot involving Dr. Shastri’s relationship with a fellow teacher doesn’t add much to the film.
Rating: 4/5. Thumbs Up!
Story: Alzheimer strikes the Sanskrit scholar Dr. Chakrapanti Shastri. He gets lost in the bustling Laxmi Road of Pune, when he is accompanying his daughter Ira to the market. An elephant on the street catches the attention of the Alzheimer’s patient and he later also seeks refuge with the mahout of the elephant. Astu then goes on to explore various philosophies in life as we see Ira’s struggle to find her Father.
- Screenplay/Dialogues: Sumitra Bhave’s screenplay weaves magic here. It doesn’t just remain about the Alzheimer’s disease, but explores various themes and philosophies through it. The world of an Azheimer’s patient and his caregivers are drawn up with great detail and authenticity.
- Direction: In true Bhave-Sukhtankar style, Astu is like an iceberg. There is lot more beneath than what you see just on the surface. And they manage to achieve this without being showy about it. An elephant is used not just as a gimmick but has a strong reason behind it.
- Cinematography: Milind Jog’s camerawork is understated and complements the film well.
- Editing: There is some issue with timeline of the film towards the end, but otherwise the editing is competent. The film travels back and forth in time and the juxtaposition of scenes are apt.
- Music and Lyrics: The use of the traditional Kannada song sung by Amruta Subhash is a masterstroke! There is also another meaningful song based on vedic chants composed soulfully by Saket Kanetkar.
- Star Performances: Dr. Mohan Agashe is spot on in the role of an Alzheimer’s patient! It would definitely be counted as one of the best performances of this year. There is more than one occasion when he manages to bring a tear out of your eye just through his facial expressions. Irawati Harshe surprises you with her nuanced performance of a married daughter torn between deciding best for her father or her family. Amruta Subhash is also mighty impressive as the mahout’s wife.
Final Verdict: Astu is a deeply touching film that manages to say a lot without apparently saying much. Sumitra Bhave-Sunil Sukhtankar have raised the bar with each film of theirs and this one is no different. The performances, especially by Mohan Agashe, are par excellence! Highly recommended!