If you’ve been following the Marathi film industry since the success of Balak Palak, you must have noticed the slew of stories that revolved around young love. From Shala to Timepass to Fandry, the shades of love might have been different, but the essence remained the same – young love.
So when you see Kaul Manacha, begin with a young Raj Kundal, running away with his classmate Ritika, and another classmate Prathamesh in the tow, you begin to wonder, is this going the same way? Well, it does and then it doesn’t.
Bhimrao Mude’s Kaul Manacha begins as a typical teenage love story, with us discovering the notorious past of protagonist Raj. His fascination for his newly appointed science teacher Hema, which then transfers to his classmate Ritika. The story follow the familiar tropes of teenage love - loving glances while the class goes on, filmy declarations of love and daring escape from the clutches of the adults who don’t understand them. An adventurous trip through Maharashtra and Karnataka takes the trio to the goddess’s abode on a hill. Here they ask for a ‘kaul’ – a prediction by goddess herself. But unbeknownst to them, the police and their teacher Hema, find them. From here the film gets totally unpredictable, but Mude tells the tale properly on screen.
On the acting front, the young Ashitosh Gaikwad gets full marks for his portrayal of the Raj, the overtly dramatic, filmy yet naughty goon in school. Ganesh Sonawane does a decent job as his best friend Dhapnya. Girija Prabhu as Ritika doesn’t have much screen time, but she does look awkward in romantic scenes. Amruta Patki as the glam science teacher Hema, is flawless, and so is Rajesh Shringarpure as the police inspector.
What’s really commendable, is the way Mude and his co-script writer Shweta Pendse, make the story enjoyable for not just the Y/A audience, but their adult parents too. It gives you a social message, but does not come across as preachy, and that’s where its strength lies. A decent entertainer this one.