The movie “Dhudgus” was released on 21st November 2008. Five days later, Mumbai was attacked. The release could not be at a better time because the situation and the characters in the movie reflect the current social and political situation. It reflects the death of morality in today’s society.
“Dhudgus” which literally means chaos is a Marathi movie about a small unnamed village in Maharahstra. An army officer from the village marries a girl of another village. As it is a typical arrange marriage, the couple meet for the first time at their marriage. Even before they could start knowing each other, he is called back to the border.
Unfortunately he is killed in the war. Barely married a few days, she is called ill-luck by her husband’s family, her parents too don’t want to take responsibility of their daughter. The boy’s family doesn’t want her neither does her own family. She is shocked beyond measures to do anything. She had lost a husband she barely knew.
The Village head man and former head man wants to cash on the death of the soldier and try to get political mileage out of the situation. The widow of the soldier is not wanted by anybody when the state political leader announces a compensation of 25 Lac rupees along with a few acre of land for the widow of the solider.
What follows is chaos as people try to lay their hands on the money with each character trying to take advantage of the situation. Both family along with the village politicians try to lay claim on the compensation money. The village politicians try to outdo each other in building a statue and a school in the name of the soldier.
Suddenly the people lay bare their inner weaknesses as they try to outdo each other using whatever means possible. What exposes is the ugly side of human behavior.
As I sat there watching Dhudgus, I couldn’t help but compare it with the current situation in India. Politicians are trying to get mileage of the situation as the dead soldiers and policemen are used to promote their own interest. It seems Dhudgus was written for the situation after the attack on Mumbai.
Although the movie is about a death of a solider, it does not fall into the familiar trap of invoking love for the country nor does it tries to glamorize the death of the soldier. Infact the death is just the start of the whole drama.
Instead it concentrates on people and their mentality spicing the movie with dark humor. The movie does not have a hero or heroine, neither does it tries to make anyone a hero. Even the climax is subdued without being over melodramatic but highly effective. The director and story have managed to control the drama and tell a simple story. It does not make any comments neither passes any judgement but makes us think of what we have become.
Dhudgus set up in rural Maharahstra captures the essence of a typical Marahstrian village. After Valu, this was another songless movie which made quite an impact with its characters and observation of village life.
Dhudgus has many characters played by many veterans of Marathi Cinema and theatre. Standing among them notably are Sanjay Narvekar as the young headman of the village, Nirmiti Sawant as the only person who helps the young widow and Suhas Palshikar as the former headman of the village. Hemangi Kavi plays the young widow and plays it quite effectively. Other notable actors include Ravindra Berde, Avinash Narkar and Uday Sabnis.
The screen play is Girish Salvi and Ganesh Deshpande and they have kept it short. The director Rajesh Deshpande succeeds in making a great movie and hopefully commercially viable. Although it does succeed in attacking the fall of morality of the society.