A initial day uncover of Shekhar Sartandel’s Bhagwan Dada biopic, Ekk Albela felt rather like a geriatric ward, in a best clarity possible. we sat subsequent to a prosperous-looking octogenarian in a frail white safari fit who munched on popcorn and tricked no pointer of tension whatsoever during a film. There were a few 20 and 30-somethings in a assembly who had somehow tripped on Bhagwan Dada’s imperishable songs and were maybe extraordinary to know some-more about a brief and round male who launched a dance step that many Indians have resorted to during slightest once for limit swag with smallest effort, a slight hip pitch that was so successfully adopted as a signature pierce by Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda.
The film’s theme is a value mine. Bhagwan Abhaji Palav aka Master Bhagwan was a classical rags-to-riches-to- rags story, a earlier Douglas Fairbanks of India, a wordless epoch movement star incited writer and executive who rode a design of super-stardom with Albela and afterwards spiraled to oblivion.
Unfortunately, a filmmakers have been saddled with small investigate material, and they don’t overcome that handicap. The film opens in a 1930s with a immature Bhagwan (Mangesh Desai) cheering Gandhian slogans and fast his father’s taunts for reasons that aren’t totally explained. The story lurches forward with fast-moving, incongruous sequences like that one where Bhagwan leaves home to work with a paanwaala in Central Mumbai, meets a Muslim lady and falls in adore usually to be told by her to go behind home and make something of himself. His possibility assembly with film clean Baburao Pehelwan during an akhada sparking an seductiveness in behaving in dodgy movement films, commencement with a purpose of a hunchback in Bewafa Aashiq, is fast dispensed with. Sartendel and his co-writer Amol Shetge coop some crowd-pleasing one liners — ‘If we don’t dream above your layaki/aukaad, because dream during all?’ — that assistance in building a loser narrative, yet those singular thespian moments mount out awkwardly in a choppy screenplay.
In a deficiency of any romantic bond with a story, Desai stairs in to save a day. The actor goes over his earthy similarity to Bhagwan and owns a film, sailing by with easy charm, charismatic shade presence, prominent eyeballs and a pleasant Cheshire grin. Given a era’s farfetched expressions, Desai could simply have slipped into gimmicky territory, yet he isn’t OTT, caricature-like or plain annoying, even for a second.
The film gathers movement and atmosphere extremely post-interval when a concentration is on a creation of Bhagwan’s magnum opus, Albela. There’s a poetic stage in that Raj Kapoor (an comical casting preference with a requisitely slim, satisfactory yet rather uncharismatic immature guy personification a showman) books a whole lot of a industry’s organisation dancers for an desirous strain method — one assumes this was for Awara that expelled in 1951, a same year as Albela and Guru Dutt’s Baazi — withdrawal Bhagwan reduction any credentials dancers one night before picturising his iconic Shola Jo Bhadke… number. Ever a bold improviser, Bhagwan picked adult a organisation of stuntmen and ‘taught’ them to dance overnight.
Desai nails a darling dancing bits, where he’s assimilated by Geeta Bali (Vidya Balan, in a special appearance) Balan contingency have sealed her initial Marathi film for a solitary purpose of carrying a blast sharpened a songs Shola jo bhadke and Bholi surat dil ke khote that are choreographed verbatim, right down to a costumes of a organisation dancers in a strange songs, a sets and steps. Her similarity to Bali is striking, and a actor mercifully restrains any incentive to duplicate a selected superstar’s intense mannerisms on screen.
The unequivocally tasty marks — Bhagwan’s energy play with Albela’s Bombay distributor Chandubhai Mehta (Vidyadhar Joshi, ever reliable) and his sexual and jaunty chaff with protégé and song composer C Ramchandra (a stately and really likeable Vighnesh Joshi) should have been given some-more shade time. Here’s when a film could have surpassed a biopic cred to paint a wider board on a golden age of Hindi cinema, yet it manages to do so usually in unsuitable spurts. (Sidebar — If a spare lady with dual plaits in a recording studio is meant to be Lata Mangeshkar, props to a group for that detailing!)
Baban Adagale’s art instruction has an disproportionate graph yet hits a integrate of high notes, generally towards a end, when Albela strikes bullion in a second week during Bombay’s Imperial Theatre. The film is shot roughly wholly on sets and Bhagwan’s duration arise to celebrity — he owned Lallubhai Mansion in Dadar, a bungalow in Chembur and a swift of 7 cars — as good as Bombay’s cinematic landscape is criminally unexplored. Vidyadhar Bhatte’s make-up and a costumes are spot-on, though. The dialogues are equally distributed in Hindi and Marathi and transitions upsurge smoothly.
Throughout examination Ekk Albela, we couldn’t assistance review it to Paresh Mokashi’s 2010 gem, Harishchandrachi Factory, that had infused whimsy, humour, implausible regard and a lurch of imagination into what could have differently been a docu-style demeanour during Dadasaheb’s Phalke’s story. The makers of Ekk Albela missed that bus. An ordinary-looking Marathi man, Bhagwan was a sequence risk-taker; he introduced Hindi cinema’s initial fist fight, constructed a initial fear film, Bhedi Bangla. Just like predestine — and one risk too many — that gathering a male into poverty after super success, a film too, takes a few heartening leaps and falls short.