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Times of India
'Mala Aai Vhachay' was the first Marathi movie that brought forth the global issue of surrogacy and the involvement of the surrogate with the child she ends up giving birth to. Karaar, which coincidentally also stars Urmila Kothare on the other side of the table, takes the story in a different direction.
Sunil Mokashi (Subodh Bhave) is a man obsessed with budgets. He calculates everything before hand to avoid financial ups and downs. He therefore plainly tells his wife Jayashree (Urmila Kothare) that a child does not feature in his five-year plan. Like any other wife in the ’80s (yes, the movie is a flashback), Jayashree obeys him and even undergoes two abortions, thereby, by filmy standards, ending up being unable to conceive. Desperate to have their ‘own’ child, the couple meets Dr Shalini Moghe (Suhasini Mulay) who suggests surrogacy. Enter the widowed house help Radha (Kranti Redkar) who is emotionally manipulated into becoming a surrogate mother. Sunil even drafts a karaar (deal) for the same with Radha. But the twist in the tale comes when they realise that they are having twins, something that will disrupt Sunil’s financial planning for the rest of his life.
To their credit Subodh, Kranti and Urmila are earnest in their respective character portrayals. But, and it’s a huge but, the story is too convoluted and turns preachy at the end. Director-writer Manoj Kotian makes Sunil Mokashi turn out to be an outright villain, instead of a man driven by his obsession for financial planning. We never know why he is so cold and calculating even in the face of some of the most emotional moments of his life. Urmila’s character ends up being a spineless spectator wife who does not question her husband’s actions ever. Kranti happens to be a delight in the scenes she gets, getting the poor but emotional and honest Radha just right.
The songs are okay, but you don’t retain any after the end credits roll. The cinematography is good, but some of the detailing of the ’80s time period is wrong; better attention should have been given to this aspect to make the movie more convincing.