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Ani...Dr.Kashinath Ghanekar

Ani...Dr.Kashinath Ghanekar Movie Review 2018: The 1st Superstar

CRITIC'S RATING    3.5/5
AVG READERS' RATING:    4.0/5
Movie Name
Ani...Dr.Kashinath Ghanekar
DIRECTION
Abhijeet Deshpande
GENRE
Drama
DURATION
02 hours 39 minutes

Ani...Dr.Kashinath Ghanekar Review


Hindi cinema may pride itself on throwing up its first superstar - Rajesh Khanna in the early 70s. It may also honour Shatrughan Sinha as the first villain who got applause on his entry and whistles for his dialogues. Late veteran actor Pran was also credited with walking away with laurels as the actor who got his name in the credits as ‘And...Pran'. His biography was even titled ‘And Pran'.

But the truth is that Marathi theatre and film actor Kashinath Ghanekar was the first to bag all three honours way back in the 60s and 70s. Females and youngsters swooned over Ghanekar who was the first real superstar of both Marathi theatre and cinema. His entry would be preceded by whistles and thunderous applause even when he played a wayward character called Laalya on stage. He was also the first actor who got his name last in the credits as ‘And...Kashinath Ghanekar' which would bring the house down.

Director Abhijeet Shirish Deshpande's two biggest achievements are that he presents Kashinath Ghanekar with warts and all but still succeeds in giving him a place in the viewer's heart. And he gets the admirably versatile Subodh Bhave to bring alive the superstar with his soft, lovable side and his self-destructive idiosyncrasies intact, including his penchant for fawning hangers-on.

Inspired by the book Nath Ha Maza (This Is My Lord) written by Ghanekar'ssecond wife Kanchan, Deshpande makes it an engrossing watch by interplaying Ghanekar's theatre and film work with his off-stage antics and relationships and a few old chartbusters like ‘ShoorAmhi Sardar' woven in. There's never a dull moment because nothing was conventional or predictable in any of Ghanekar's relationships.

He had a curious equation with first wife Dr Irawati, a childless marriage that ended in divorce, and Deshpande gives it a fair presentation without shortchanging her presence in his life.

His troubled equation with an unyielding father from whom he longs to hear one complimentary word and never gets it makes him empathise with Shivaji's son Sambhaji when he gets to play the coveted role on stage. That's a constant emotion which makes the actor more vulnerable.

Ghanekar's intensely romantic affair with veteran actress Sulochana's young daughter Kanchan was controversial but lasted the test of time enforced by her family and did culminate in marriage and a child that he so yearned for. Kanchan standing awestruck in the wings and watching him as he blows her a kiss in the midst of his performance has all the style of a true superstar.

Professionally two relationships stand out -- his blow-hot-blow-cold equation with enormously talented writer Vasant Kanetkar who penned his two most career-defining theatre roles - that ofSambhaji and Laalya. The other is with producer and loyal friend Prabhakar Panshikar who's with him through thick and thin. There is a dramatic rivalry with rising theatre artiste Dr Shriram Lagoo which also adds a punch because the characters are familiar and the situation is so typical of actors who can't bear to share the limelight or watch another take his place.

The film scores best in its performances with Subodh Bhave outstanding as Kashinath as he carries off with perfection the stylised acting, the mannerisms, the downward spiral and his yearning, living and breathing for applause. Sonali Kulkarni is mature and restrained as Sulochana who mentors him only to later disapprove of his relationship with her daughter. Prasad Oak is credible as friend Prabhakar and Sumeet Raghavan gives gravitas and a certain likeability to Dr Shriram Lagoo.


Analysis

    Direction
    4/5
  • Dialogues
    3/5
  • Story
    3.5/5
  • Music
    3/5
  • Screen Play
    3.5/5

The Verdict

For those who revel in theatre nostalgia, this is for you. Even for those much younger, Ani...Kashinath Ghanekar is an absorbing introduction to one of the most flawed but colourful theatre and cinema actors of all time.

Ani…Kashinath Ghanekar, therefore, deserves a healthy 3.5* rating.


 

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