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Times of India
A timid young teacher finds respite in the thoughts of Balasaheb Thackeray whose words inspire him to take on the system.
No it's not a biopic about the late Shiv Sena supremo but is heavily inspired by his thoughts and ideology. Bal Thackeray's fight for the rights of the Marathi manoos has been recreated through the eyes of the film's protagonist Balkrishna Patil (Umesh Kamat).
'Balkadu' (slang for a tight slap on the cheek) starts off with the protagonist seated in a psychiatrist's clinic complaining about hearing voices of historical figures in his head. After taking the pills advised by the psychiatrist, all but one of the voices stop and Bal can now only hear the other Bal (Thackeray) who constantly takes digs at Bal's lack of courage and encourages him to fight against the non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai. Patil starts his crusade after taking on Ram Purkar (Prasad Oak), who is hell-bent on closing down the school Patil teaches in. Patil moves on to straighten all the troublemakers of the city, including the rickshawalas and builders, who take the commoners for granted and deny them their rights. He soon becomes an online sensation who gives a balkadu to anyone who creates problems for the Marathi manoos. Guiding him through this are Thackeray's inspiring words.
Everyone knows about Bal Thackeray's body of work and power and the movie does nothing different than focusing on the same. Initially the antics and plot seem entertaining but it is far too predictable. Also, when you know what's going to happen if someone does something wrong, after a few balkadus there is nothing much to look out for.
Umesh Kamat delivers a stellar performance. His relation with his onscreen mom (Supriya Pathare) reminds us of the Ratna Pathak Shah- Imran Khan maa-beta jodi from 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na'. Neha Pendse looks stunning and Prasad Oak has a great grip on his villainous role. Apart from this, there is not a lot to look out for in the movie.
A few light moments, noteworthy performances and Bal Thackeray's voice clips are the only things that Balkadu can be watched for.
Our overall critics rating is not an average of the sub score below.