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Times of India
If ever there was a master class on how to turn a simple story into a beautiful film, director Makarand Mane would be the ideal teacher for it. And the National Award winning Ringan, an emotional journey that packs human emotion, the farmer crisis and a layered father-son relationship, would be an ideal case study.
Arjun (Shende), a farmer and widower, has to repay a loan to a zamindar. With no crop to sell, he is in a situation where he stands to lose his land and house. Helpless, he asks for money from relatives and friends but to no avail. Finally, he and his son Abhimanyu (Joshi) end up in Pandharpur to seek blessings of Lord Vitthal. Arjun finds work and starts saving. On the other hand, the young Abhi is hopeful of finding his mother in Pandharpur. How the relation evolves and how the duo sustains, is what makes Ringan a treat to the eyes.
The film follows a linear narrative but has been made interesting through subtle twists and some fantastic performances. Interestingly, the film doesn’t label anyone as a villain. There are negative characters but it’s the situation that forces them to act the way they do, something that’s true for anyone of us. We react to situations that life throws at us but in the end, all is well. That’s how simple the story of this film is.
Mane deserves a round of applause for treating this story so well. But it is the performances that take the cake. The young Joshi is as sincere as he is cute. Abhay Mahajan, in the role of a sculptor, is the perfect friend, philosopher and guide for Joshi, while Kalyanee Mulay is a treat to watch in the limited screen time she has. However, Shashank Shende is the cherry on the cake. There’s hardly anyone who could’ve pulled this role off with the kind of dedication and understanding that he has. Shende is an unsung hero of the industry who has continuously proved his mettle with fine performances but Ringan is undoubtedly his best work till date.
On the flipside, the film has a slow pace and can be a bit tedious to watch for the general viewer. But for the ardent movie buffs, Ringan shouldn’t be missed.