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Times of India
Based in the pre-independence era, the film focuses on the young revolutionaries' efforts to drive the British out of the country and gain freedom.
But it's not just one's spirit that plays an important role here. It takes proper execution of a plan to bring success, and then, laying down your life for the country doesn't seem a difficult task anymore.
The film is set during the pre-independence era when a handful of like-minded men come together to devise a solution to bring an end to the suppression of rights by Britishers. The spirit of revolutionaries and freedom fighters, and their willingness to go to any extent is what the movie is all about.
Anant Kanhere (Akshay Shimpi) is a young lad from a small village in Konkan who goes to Aurangabad to pursue studies. Influenced by Lokmanya Tilak and Vinayak Savarkar's ideologies, Anant decides to contribute to the freedom struggle. Meanwhile in Nashik, Krushnaji Karve (Shrikant Bhide) and his aides are preparing for an armed rebellion, but it is their mentor Ganesh Savarkar who advices them to wait for the right moment to strike. The root cause of everyone's anger is the collector of Nashik, Officer Jackson who has invited the wrath of people through his actions. And when he orders the arrest of Ganesh, Krushnaji and his group including Anant get into motion to execute Jackson's assassination.
In a movie set in the year 1909, director Abhay Kambli excels in capturing the period perfectly through the lens. He manages to convey the message of patriotism and one can identify with the characters' anger and urge to make things right. What begins as a plan of revenge soon turns into a mission for the young revolutionaries from Maharashtra.
The film marks the foray of theatre artists Shrikant, Akshay and Shrinivas Joshi into cinema and they perform with great ease and exceed in their respective roles. Akshay as the gritty Anant and Shrikant as the balanced Krushnaji bring authenticity to their characters.
The pace of the narrative gets sloppy at times and there are a few scenes that could have been done away with. But overall, '1909' is a good film with a subject that has not been touched often in the Marathi film industry.