I use to hate old Marathi movies because my mother won’t let me watch another channel during these movies. Yes! I am a maharahstrian. The older Marathi movies were mostly social drama set in rural Maharahsta. The late 80s and 90s show the emergence and dying of comedy movies. Laxmikant Berde, Ashok Sharaf were stars then. Baring a few hits, what came out was total crap. Slowly the number of movies in Marthi started to dwindle.
That’s when serious cinema came to the Marathi Film Industry. Today less Marathi movies are produced but the subject are as diverse ass possible which even the Hindi film industry does not dare to experiment. And what is heartening is that they receive commercial success which firms the belief that the audience needs good movies.
“Devrai” is just another example of a commendable effort. “Devrai” means Sacred Grove. The movie handles the delicate issue of Schizophrenia patient. The movie is also produced by Schizophrenia Awareness Association) and K S Vani Memorial Trust.
The story is of Schizophrenic man and its effect on his family and friends. Atul Kulkarni plays Shesh, a Schizophrenia patient. He suffers from frustration because his separation of his love and his mother who wants him to make a name for himself. He finds solace in the Devrai, a grove considered to be sacred in Konkan. The anger and frustration that starts from his childhood is worsened by his Schizophrenic condition. By the time he grows up, his sickness worsens. His family does not understands his disease and thinks its his frustration that is making him angry and makes him behave abnormally.
Atul Kulkarni – Splendid Performance in Devrai
He wants to do research on the Sacred grove and he starts imagining things. He builds a parallel life around himself where the thin line between reality and imagination is almost non-existent. When things goes out of hand he is shown to physiatrist who detects his true disease. Sonali Kulkarni play his sister, Sina who is the only surviving family finds it difficult to balance her family life of her husband and son and her brother’s illness. She is herself not convinced that her brother is not mad. The film shows Atul Kulkarni’s journey from getting ill, identifying and then coming with terms with Schizophrenia. It also shows a sisters journey to get her brother treated and at the same time trying to keep her sanity.
The movie has an eerie feeling. Right from the first scene in the haunting grove. The movie is songless except for a small poetry at the end of the movie written by Atul Kulkarni himself. Atul Kulkarni plays his part of a Schizophrenic patient to perfection. Sonali kulkarni lends him good support as the supporting, confused and dejected sister. Tushar Dalvi plays Sina’s husband. The rest of the cast like Mohan Aghase also provide good support. Directed by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar, the movie captures the beauty of Konkan perfectly.
The first half of the movie is good but becomes slower in the second half during the recovery of Atul Kulkarni. The climax when he is not fully cured but understands his illness is not justifiable when his childhood love comes to stay with him.
All in all a very good movie and a look into the mind and life of a mentally suffering person and the people around him. The poem by Atul Kulkarni at the end of the movie pretty much sums up the movie’s mood
Aahe vasti nahi sakha
Ghar aahe bandhu nahi
Ekte Ekte! Ekte Ekte
Bebhan Jag Pakhra kale na ka
Kalol kalol ka?
Loosely translated means. Its not perfect but somewhere close
Society is present, friend is absent
House is present, Brother is absent
Alone! Alone! Alone! Alone
Uncontrolled World, Birds don’t understand
Why is the chaos?