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Devrai Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Monday, April 4, 2005 • Hindi ]
Devrai Review
Atul Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni, Devika Daftardar, Tushar Dalvi, Amruta Subhash, Rajesh More, Dr. Mohan Agashe
Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukthankar

From "Doghi" to "Vaastupurush", filmmakers Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar have consistently given Marathi audience movies that are socially relevant and heart-warming.
 Their latest offering "Devrai", meaning sacred grove, is undoubtedly amongst their best work, and surely, the most impressive film made in Marathi in the last two years.
 Like National Award winner "Shwaas", "Devrai" too is based on a medical theme.
 But its story, sans high-pitched drama, is about a schizophrenic struggling to come to terms with his illness and the frustration of his helpless sister, narrated with such immense sensitivity that it has far greater depth than the much-celebrated "Shwaas".
 Through a series of wonderfully laid-out flashbacks, we meet Shesh (Atul Kulkarni) - a mentally-disturbed individual who has been admitted in a hospital after an emotional outburst at his sister Seena's (Sonali Kulkarni) house during a party.
 Through insightful treatment, intelligent dialogues and perfect casting, the directors have once again succeeded in putting their film way ahead of the rest in the industry.
 As the battery of doctors try to unravel the mysteries of Shesh's mind - with Seena's help - we learn more about the man, first as a short-tempered, reserved boy with an inability to deal with people and his love for nature.
 Then as Shesh grows older, his frustration piles higher.
 His failure to pursue research on a so-called sacred grove, his inability to come to terms with his attraction for his widowed cousin Kalyani, and finally, games his own mind starts playing with increasing frequency - all contribute to his inexplicable bouts of violence and incoherent blabbering, a condition doctors describe as schizophrenia.
 The rest of the story is about how Seena, with help from the kind-hearted, senior doctor and a lady who runs a day-care centre for mentally ill people, manages to overlook the constant bickering of her insensitive scientist husband Sudesh (Tushar Dalvi), to help her brother overcome his disorder.
 The end, however, of this beautifully developed screenplay is slightly jarring, and particularly unpalatable from a feminist filmmaker like Bhave.
 After Shesh's recovery, he expresses his desire to go back to the village.
 Then, Seena approaches Kalyani - the cousin who was barred from meeting Shesh in the hospital and driven out of the village because of his attraction towards her - to accompany him because he needs her!
 Barring this inconsistency, "Devrai" is almost flawless.
 Debu Deodhar's masterful camerawork gives visual glimpses of Shesh's surreal world and Atul Kulkarni's brilliant poetry expresses the emotional discord.
 The absolutely true-to-life characters bring immense credibility to the story.
 Above all, it is stunning performances from Sonali Kulkarni and more importantly, Atul Kulkarni that make this film special.
 Seena's breakdown when Shesh's imaginary world starts creating doubts in her mind too and Atul's consistent portrayal of Shesh's complex character, his body language, his mannerisms, his voice modulation, his personality, are outstanding.
 Most films that deal with specific issues tend to get too preachy and therefore uninteresting. But "Devrai" is an exception, because it gets the message across, yet touches a chord deep inside.

Rating: 0 / 5.0

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