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Times of India
A true story of a social worker who wants to transform a Pune slum by building houses for people through government's slum rehabilitation scheme (SRA). Along the way, he fights scrupulous builders and land mafia to secure homes for slum dwellers.
Sadanand Shetty, a social activist from Pune who plays himself in the film, is a serial do-gooder. He invests a lot of time in the lives of residents in his neighborhood slum. He is fighting a case against a developer for the slum dwellers rights. Along with help from junior engineer Avinash Joshi (Atul Kulkarni) and plenty of shrill, generic advice from his mother (Kishore Ballal), he stands for the local municipal elections. His nemesis is the local goon Sarphite (Ashok Samarth) and Mrs Angela who speaks Hindi like Captain Russell from Lagaan. They want to chase away the poor and make malls on five acres of slum land.
In the first half, which moves at a snail pace, the slum dwellers win the case and are set to make the apartment complex of their dreams. There is no tension or suspense. The fact that SRA projects are complex, time consuming endeavours where a lot of slum dwellers get raw deals is all airbrushed.
The second half is about how you can take people out of a slum, but you can't take the slum out of them, as the residents try to adjust to life in a building which gets a chuckle or two here and there, but that's all. The end is tepid and uneventful. Sadanand Shetty may be a determined social activist, but he is no actor. Atul Kulkarni barely gets a chance to show his acting chops while Sunil Pal's act as a drunk falls terribly flat. Aasra is more of a 'how to' guide to the slum rehabilitation process. But at two hours and seven minutes, it’s a long and uneventful one.