To say that Marathi Cinema has come of age is a stale statement these days. It is well past the coming of age stage and is rapidly moving towards excellence. Subodh Bhave’s directorial debut is a commendable one and an industry (that was otherwise considered a laggard) one step forward.
Technically, one cannot call Katya Kaljat Ghusali (A Dagger Through The Heart) a Marathi movie because a big chunk of the dialogue is in Urdu. Of late, the traditional “Marathi” film maker is not shying away from using the language that the character is supposed to be most comfortable with. I wish other directors take note and start following suit.
KKG is an adaptation of a play of the same name from 1967. Set in what can safely be assumed as 19th century India, KKG is a story based on “arrogance”. It is best summarized by a line from the movie from Zarina (Amruta Khanvilkar) to her father Aftab Hussain Bareliwale aka Khan Saheb (Sachin Pilgaonkar).
She says, “Aapke Shaagird ek raag mein doosra mila dete hain toh aap se bardaasht nahin hota. Phir aapne Insaaniyat mein Ahankaar kaise mila diya Abbu”? (You do not tolerate your protégés mixing one Raag with another. How did you mix humanity with arrogance my dear father). A wonderful line both in the context of the movie at that moment as well as for all those who believe in learning from cinema.
KKG is about 2 musicians – 3 eventually – but 2 to begin with. Panditji Bhanu Pratap Shastri (Shankar Mahadevan) and Khan Saheb. The former is revered by one and all and is the Royal Musician in the court of the Maharaja of Vishrampur. In fact, Panditji is the one who bestows the title of Khan Saheb on an otherwise unsuccessful but extremely talented singer.
In the 14 years that follows, while Panditji continues to appreciate Khan Saheb and his brand of classical music, the sentiment is all but reciprocated. Khan Saheb’s attempts to oust Panditji as the Royal singer fail repeatedly to the extent that he tries to commit suicide.
He is saved but the pride and arrogance he has about his “Gharana” (House of Music) finally meets with success when Panditji mysteriously accepts defeat. While one would have expected Khan Saheb to be humble in victory, the reaction is the exact opposite. The story does take a turn when Sadashiv Gurav (Subodh Bhave) makes an entry. Sadashiv is one of Panditji’s protégé’s from 14 years ago.
While it is centred around classical music of 2 Gharanas and you are never too far away from a song, KKG is not just meant for the music aficionado. Of Course, they will appreciate the nuances more than the ordinary everyday Joe like this writer. But the story is enough to keep you in the cinema hall for the 160 odd minutes that Bhave chooses to narrate his story over.
Could the movie have been cut down to about 140 minutes? It does stretch a little bit in parts to be honest but it doesn’t bore you to death unlike the family melodrama that was released earlier this week. The movie retains some of the original compositions by Jitendra Abhisheki and adds some contemporary stuff from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
The performances are very theatric and that could have been another place for Bhave to take it up a notch. One would have expected the performances to be a bit more life like. Those gaps being kept aside, KKG is definitely a better way to spend ₹200 than twice as much on Bhaijaan. Do watch it. 7 on 10.
Watch the trailer on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iTazEogwiY