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Times of India
Coming from a family of brave warriors, Wamanrao Ashtaputre has a desire to do something for his country but his cowardice is a hurdle in the way.
Atul Kale's Sandook is a period film set in the pre-independence era and Sumeet Raghavan makes the most of his role in his debut Marathi film.
This film has a setup like Vitti-Dandu; a rustic, pre-independence era village where a cruel British police officer is appointed much to the dismay of the villagers. There is also a resistance force at work that is plotting to kill the officer Scott (J Brandon Hill) who forcibly occupies a reputed family's mansion for himself. The resistance, Jai Hind Sangathana, is headed by a guy named Madhavrao who nobody has ever seen. In between all this is the sandook, a small box, that is the key to a mystery and Waman (Sumeet Raghavan), whose desire to contribute towards the freedom struggle lands him in trouble when he is asked to be the guardian of the sandook. Why? Because Scott is curious to know what secret the sandook contains and is willing to go to any lengths to acquire it.
Technically speaking, there are loopholes in the film and songs that with no concrete reason increase the running time. In the first half itself the mystery of the sandook is solved when one of the rebels is shown revealing the secret of the box. Most of the suspense goes down the drain with the revelation of the mystery and only Sumeet's antics and the hidden identity of Madhavrao keep the viewers hooked.
Now, the thing about Sumeet is that he puts life into whatever character he plays, be it Sahil Sarabhai from 'Sarabhai vs Sarabhai' or Mukund from 'Holiday'. He does the same when he portrays multiple characters with the same amount of energy in Sandook and that is a commendable quality of his. Rest of the actors perform their roles well.
'Sandook' could've been a great film had the element of surprise been kept intact but without that it becomes a film that rides on the back of Raghavan. He carries it on his back but that is not enough for the film as a whole to strike a chord with the viewers.