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Times of India
A theatre stalwart entangled in the shackles of his characters battles personal problems after retiring from acting.
'Natsamrat' as a work of art has a legacy of great names associated with it. Starting with VV Shirwadkar who penned the words, the play version had legends like Dr Shriram Lagoo, Datta Bhat and Satish Dubhashi enacting the part. With the screen version, Nana Patekar has set a new benchmark for himself as well as others in terms of acting.
Shirwadkar's work doesn't need introduction for the older generation, some of whom might've had the privilege of watching the original play, but for others, here's what 'Natsamrat' is. The story revolves around the life of a Shakespearean actor Ganpat Belvalkar (Patekar), known for his wit and sense of humour; the very qualities that affect his personal relationships. As parents, he and his wife Kaveri (Medha Manjrekar) are epitomes of love and care towards their children. Belvalkar is a straightforward man who doesn't mince his words. Unfortunately, his behaviour becomes a problem for his kids (who are now married). Insulted by them, he and Kaveri decide to stay away from them.
The protagonist's role is one that requires utmost dedication and the actor essaying it is bound to let some characteristics of Belvalkar seep into his real self. By Nana's admission, this was a role that gave him the most satisfaction and the reason is evident. He has gotten to show a wide range of emotions through Belvalkar's persona. Nana makes every scene a treat to watch but there is one that stands above all other scenes. Nana and Vikram Gokhale's enactment of a scene while Gokhale, who plays Belvalkar's friend Ram, is on his deathbed, takes the cake.
In this one scene, Gokhale, through his facial expressions, body language and enunciation, says so much more than what many actors take multiple films to convey. This scene combined with the evergreen monologues delivered by Nana in his inimitable style form the crux of the film. At a few places, the film slips into melodrama and that hampers the progress of it.
Manjrekar has taken known faces for the smallest of roles and each of them does their parts well. Among the supporting cast, Mrunmayee shows that she's got so much untapped potential while Sunil Barve puts the point across through his balanced role. Medha does what is required of her and there are a couple of scenes that genuinely make one feel for her character.
The fabulous performances make 'Natsamrat' a film that sets a solid base for Marathi films in 2016. It is a film that shouldn't be missed.
Our overall critics rating is not an average of the sub score below.