Been hearing about this Marathi movie “Natarang”. Heard that it is a different movie in the Marathi language genre. So I thought maybe it would be a good idea to shell out some of my money and actually watch the movie. And I was not at all disappointed. I have earlier watched only a few Marathi movies, but only a few packed the right punch like Dombivili Fast, Zenda, Harishchandrachi Factory etc..
This movie has a serious storyline, unlike most other popular Marathi movies which are mostly of the slapstick comedy type or in-law brawls. There has been a welcome change in Marathi movies in recent years, from some cheap comedies to sensible movies like this one.
Atul Kulkarni plays the lead role called “Guna” in the movie. He is a farm worker and wrestler (Pehalwan), avid Tamasha (Marathi folk dance) fan and lavani writer. Due to automation in farms he is working, he is out of work along with his fellow mates, and then they choose to form a “Tamasha” group, despite opposition from peers. It becomes evident to them that they at least require a female performer to attract crowd to watch their Tamasha. They find a female dancer, played by Sonalee Kulkarni (not the “Dil Chahta Hai” fame) whose condition is that there should be a feminine homosexual “Nachya” in the troupe and only then can she join them. Despite hesitation, Guna, who wants to play the part as a King, undertakes to become a “Nachya”. The dedication shown by Atul Kulkarni in this movie shows his professionalism. He had to build up his body for the wrestler part and then shed kilos to become a nachya in the troupe, and all that in one movie!! His acting stands out in the movie.
Thereafter the troupe achieves fame and some money, but what follows is the societal prejudice and the POV of the society at how they look upon a nachya. He is deserted by his wife, teased for performing feminine roles, abused and declared a eunuch and gay by the society that fails to understand the creativity involved in the art form. But Guna never gives up and he continues to pursue his passion. However, this outburst could have been portrayed much intensely, but then again, it would have attracted smaller crowds due to intensity. Atul Kulkarni will now be more remembered, not for his role in “Rang De Basanti” but for his role in “Natarang”.
The music / soundtrack of “Natarang” by Ajay and Atul was incredible. It gave the movie the right direction and it never felt that it was moving away from the essence of the movie. Man! Love the sound of the “Dholak”! And here’s a big thumbs up to Ravi Jadhav, the debutant director, who has shown that he is no amateur in directing this movie.
This movie has changed the course of Marathi movies and movie goers have also shown that they need change from the usual slapstick comedy, and Natarang has given them a breather. Watch out! More to come from the Marathi movie stable!