During the late 19th century and early 20th century Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the real hero of India’s freedom struggle. No wonder, this great freedom fighter finds a separate chapter in the text books of Indian History. To make a full length feature film on his ideology and important events in his life, is itself a grand tribute to this dynamic leader of India’s freedom movement.
Producer Neena Raut and debutant director Om Raut have done this great job, through their latest Marathi film ‘Lokmanya Ek Yugpurush’. The film encompasses the journey of Lokmanya Tilak from his early days of entering the freedom struggle during his college days, to becoming the legend & “Father of Indian Unrest”, thus inspiring the generations to come. In fact, the film runs a parallel story of a youth in the present time, who is inspired by the ideology of Mr. Tilak, after reading books on him.
So, as we find Subodh Bhave portraying Lokmanya, filled with his energy and commitment to the character; we also find the change noticed in Makarand (Chinmay Mandlekar) a committed journalist in present time, working for a local newspaper in Pune. After reading about the great freedom fighter, Makarand is so much inspired by the ideology of Lokmanya Tilak that he gets the feeling that even after independence, the country’s people were still deprived of their independence. The sequences of Tilak’s fight for ‘Swarajya’(self rule) prior to our country’s independence has been well compared with the need for ‘Surajya’ (Good governance) in today’s time.
The film not only discovers the ideals and vision of the great freedom fighter; but, at the same time makes it a point to comment on the socio-political situation of today’s India and how it can be improved, showing the influence of Tilak’s ideology on today’s youth. The film has highlighted the rough and tough ways of Lokmanya, while dealing with ruthless rule of British officers. The best action filled incidences shown in the film, are about the atrocities of British Officer on special duty Mr. Rand in Pune, to deal with epidemic ‘Plague’. Later, the revenge taken by young Damodar Chaphekar, eliminating Rand and other officer. Arrest of Tilak, his sentence at Mandalay jail in Burma, his interaction with personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and others have been presented well.
The director has cleverly shown how Tilak began his plans of opposing the British rule, by starting a school with the support of Vishnushastri Chiplunkar and Agarkar. His friendship of Gopal Ganesh Agarkar (Sameer Vidwans) and his starting their own newspapers. Later, he has shown, how he differed with the ideology of his close friend Aagarkar. The film has also shown the sad end of his wife Satyabhama (Shweta Bhende) and son Vishwanath. There is some scope given to his well wisher and friend Daji Abaji Khare(Angad Mhaskar). There are also references made to other freedom fighters and social reformers like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi and few others in the film. However, their appearances are very brief, hence not opting for well known faces.
Subodh Bhave, who has portrayed the role of Lokmanya, has given a superb performance, which is worth winning best actor’s award for the next year, unless he finds a competitor with equal strength. Subodh in particular has paid more attention on his dialogue delivery, to match with the personality of firebrand freedom fighter. But, for that credit also goes to make up man Vikram Gaikwad, who has worked very hard to create each and every important character in this film, including Lokmanya.
The director, with the help of Kaustubh Savarkar has used hard hitting dialogues to suit the pre-independence era, as well as the present day crisis faced by people like Makarand, belonging to media. Full marks also go to Chinmay Mandlekar, for playing the journalist inspired by Tilak’s ideology. Shweta Bhende and Priya Bapat Kamat have limited scope in this male dominated film. But, Sameer Vidwans does find enough scope to display his skills in the role of Agarkar. Good support comes from all character artistes.
The film’s cinematography has been well handled with ace camera work of Prasad Bhende. Pramod Chandorkar’s sound design, Santosh Phutane’s art direction, Mahesh Sherla’s costume designing, background score by Sameer Mhatre and the VFX effects by Jayant Hadke are worth praising. ‘Lokmanya’ is certainly an inspiring and a ‘must see’ film for all .
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