Treasure chests, more often than not, guard quaint, charming and visually enticing artifacts. Atul Kale's ‘Sandook’ is no different. Set in the picturesque, rustic era of the 1940’s, the film captures the mesmerizing lure of pre-independence India quite brilliantly. Unfortunately, that is probably the only thing that shines bright in Sandook. Everywhere else, the film fails to reach the worth that it promises.
‘Sandook’ is the tale of Wamanrao Ashtaputre (Sumeet Raghavan) from Sambhalgadh, who always boasts about the role of his ancestors in Maharashtra's rich history. He himself works in the local post office, looking after his wife Rukmini (Bhargavi Chirmule) and his son, Bharat (Devesh Bhedge). At first, Ashtapure is terrified of speaking openly against the cruel English Police officers. Soon though, he comes to know about his close friends and colleagues joining the revolutionary Jai Hind Movement, so he too joins the cause. The film is Ashtapure's journey from being the laughing stock of his village to an unwitting revolutionary.
There are a few inherent flaws in the film though. The film's duration stands at 2 hours and 15 minutes, and moves at a sluggish pace at best. There seems to be a lack of attention given to production design; for instance a lack of detail pertaining to language; the dialect, the dictum and the general style of the period the film is based in.
Sumeet Raghavan though delivers a promising performance on his Marathi acting debut.Through the character of Ashtaputre, Sumeet displays good comic timing, although the crisp dialogues and one liners work in his favour. Music directors Ajit- Sameer also provide a soundtrack that seems to fit in well with the film's essence.
Overall, Sandook has enough gems to make it worthy of a one-time watch. Cinematographer Ajit V. Reddy's effort to recreate the charm of the bygone era is definitely one thing you'll treasure from this Sandook.
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