STORY: A poor peasant Tukaram’s (Om Puri) son commits suicide leaving the family shattered. The old man struggles to get justice as everyone turns a deaf ear to his pleas. That’s when he takes the drastic decision of ending his life, but not before he makes his voice heard.
REVIEW: In the world of urban poor, do we ever spare a thought for those living in drought inflicted regions – where crops fail regularly and the peasants mortgage their lands to clear their hefty debts? How sensitive are we to their abject poverty and hapless situation? Project Marathwada takes up this noble cause as its theme but scratches only the surface. They make the issue look shockingly uni-dimensional. The story lacks depth and banks solely on the prowess of the film’s accomplished cast.
The actors do a fine job of salvaging the situation. Be it Seema Biswas or Dalip Tahil, the film’s supporting cast shines. But mostly, the film rides on Om Puri’s shoulders. Director-writer Bhavin Wadia places him at the center of this drama. Puri rises from being a victim to a vigilante effortlessly, lacing the story with great intensity. You wish the film’s screenplay had enough power to see this through to the end. But the narrative fumbles and fizzles out soon. After a point, it resembles a regular tirade against corruption with negligible material evidence to substantiate the rant.
In the second half, the story gets repetitive which ends up making the climax look convoluted. The issue of farmer suicides is not a homogeneous one but the narrative doesn’t cover the entire spectrum, making it look like a simple case of cause-and-effect. The film picks on the problems but never offers a plausible solution. Is there one good-enough reason to watch this film? Certainly, its lead man who is every bit sincere. As long as the film stays with Puri, it remains engaging. An assured tackling of the story could’ve gone a long way in holding a mirror to the evils that plague society. Unfortunately, it is only a half-baked effort that fails to push the envelope.