Once you go on a pilgrimage (Waari), you won't come out as the same person that walked in. Mokssh, Hindi adaptation of the multiple award-winning Marathi film 'Gajar', is a fascinating tale of spirituality and self-discovery.
Parth (Chinmay Mandlekar) an egotistical and ambitious filmmaker, takes up an 'experimental' project of directing a film on the Waarkaris (pilgrims), who religiously embark on the annual Pandharpur yatra (pilgrimage) to see their deity Lord Vithoba (believed to be a form of Krishna and Vishnu).
Parth is accompanied by girlfriend Geetali (Sukhada Yash), Eric (Edward Sonnenblick), an international student pursuing a Masters in Anthropology, Avdya (local Wari expert) and cinematographer Amol (DOP Amol Gole plays himself). To capture Maharashtra's most revered voyage on camera, they travel with the Waarkaris, who walk 240 kms in 18 days! The experience turns out to be a life-altering journey for Parth as 18 days signify 18 chapters (Adyay) of the Dnyaneshwari (a commentary on the Bhagwad Gita).
Made on a modest budget,
scores in almost all departments, story and authenticity, imagination, cinematography, dialogues and performances. Scenes where the Waarkaris express their love for Vithoba are heart-rending. Casting is brilliant as acclaimed Marathi actor Chinmay Mandlekar plays the protagonist with perfection. You feel his pain as he strives to fulfill his passion without compromising on his principles. You can identify with his restlessness. His relentless search for a deeper meaning in life makes you introspect. Supporting actors make their mark as well. The real Waari footage shot by Gole is breathtaking.
The film, however, has its share of flaws. A few portions are dubbed and not re-shot, which is distracting. At times the Adhyays bear no relevance to the contemporary setting, as is the objective. The farmers' plight issue seems a tad out of place.
Nonetheless, if salvation is what you seek,
is liberating. Like Parth, you may find your answers too. At times, while analysing someone else's behaviour or studying their nature, you end up discovering yours. Faith is all it takes...take this emotional voyage.