An Indian Engineer, Tushar Khot working in America comes on assignment to the village of his ancestors. He tries to stay away from his father who believes in ghost and claims to talk to them. A person of modern times he refuses to believe his father and finds his process disgusting.
The Marathi film “Chakwa” starts with a simple story line of a person returning back to his village. The story changes into a mystery journey once he reaches his village. Staying in his ancestral house, the first night he hears a scream. The second night he hears the scream again and he investigates to find a frightened girl, Janhavi who asks him to leave. He starts feeling that somebody is following him even in the house.
A parallel mystery is the mango pulp factory which has a problem of low production inspite of a bumper crop. The factory manager, Chudhury seems to be hiding something from him. An influential businessman, Rahgunathrao tries to convince him to sell his house.
The film starts with Tushar visiting a psychiatrist and explaining the strange things happening around him and the story moves forward after that. The picture shot in the beautiful locales of Konkan, the costal region of Maharahtsra adds to the mystery. Konkan is made up of mountains, sea shores and thick forest. It is a beautiful place in the midst of nature.
The first part is genuinely scary. The director has used simple techniques like a small whiff of smoke, music and camera angles to suggest that someone may be closer to Tushar. In the middle of the night, when you are alone, you feel that someone may be in the room or on a lonely street, you feel someone presence. This is normal human tendency to feel scarred about the unknown. The first part of the story dwells on this fear. Tushar feels someone following him, the girl next door acts strange and the mystery of missing production in the factory becomes more complicated.
While the first part have you sitting in anticipation and gets you feeling really scarred, the second part is a big letdown. It turns out to be a normal murder mystery with no twist and turns. You can guess the culprit before the end of the movie. There are not many characters to choose from either. So its pretty much kind of easy guess.
The movie is slow but it builds a good tempo. The music is well; there is music in the movie. The movie tries to balance the supernatural and scientific side but does not look convincing. According to the production house, this movie was going to be a digital film but then turned out to be a full length feature film with sync sound.
Atul Kulkarni plays Tushar Khot and as always gives the best performance of the movie. The whole story revolves around Atul Kulkarni hence he is seen in almost every part of the movie but then who’s complaining. he is shown as an engineer atleast that is what I assume. The exact nature of the job is not described but something to do with consulting. Deepa Parab plays Janhavi, the frightened girl is ok in the role. Suhas Palsikar plays Raghnathrao. He is the same actor who plays ‘Lalya’ in N Chandra’s “Ankush” After so many years, he certainly looks different. He plays the part of a ruthless villager with conviction.
Other than that, all other characters have a short role to play. The movie starts with a bang and ends in a whimper but it certainly had upped my interest in Marathi movies. Only thing is what does “Chakwa” actually means? Google does not help here.
Rating : 6/10