Umesh Kulkarni’s Vihir (The Well) is bloody brillant, cinematic masterstroke and a must watch!

Posted: March 19, 2010 by moifightclub in cast & crew, cinema, film review, Must Watch, News, pics, Regional, reviews, songs & videos, Story / Plot / Synopsis, Thoughts
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Now that the post header has made you curious enough to book your tickets, do give the film some time and space. Its not your corn and cola cinema. For that you can wait for pottymaker’s Housefull!

As I returned home after the screening and looked at the bucketful of water in the bathroom and the reflection of the light on its surface, I could not look beyond. A bucketful water never meant so much. Never held my attention. When you go to a theatre to watch a film, its entertainment but when you come back home with a cinema inside you, you know its a masterstroke.

Vihir is one such cinematic masterstroke. Directed by Umesh Kulkrani and written by Girish Kulkarni & Sati Bhave, its devastatingly gorgeous, warm and heartwrenching tale of two freinds and their adolescent days. Of lost and found. Of life and death. Of hide and seek. Of love, lost and longing.

According to the official release, the synopsis of Vihir is as follows…

A story of two adolescent boys Sameer and Nachiket (cousins who are best friends) standing on the crossroads of life… to choose between the life that leads to petty worldly small existence or the life of free existence that would let them spread their wings and soar high in open skies…

They play a game of hide and seek in a rather unusual way. Where one cousin hides in death and the other is looking for him in the life around him. . . . Samir’s search leads him towards the experience of oneness where he can unite with Nachiket again!

Scratch the surface and you will find that the water runs really deep. There is family politics, pain of growing up, existensial crisis, chinese whispers, detachment and finding that “best friend” during one of the most difficult & exciting time of life – adolescent days. When suddenly one day you spot some soft hair strands slowly making a thin line just below your nose, you dont remain the same anymore. You want to talk to someone who belongs to the same club. You try to make sense of the world.

And like me, if you have spent your summer vacations at your nanihaal or mamabadi or mamaghar or Grandma’s place, you will instantly connect with it. Uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents – all under one roof. Things that you should not have known, tales that you should not have heard and incidents that you should not have been part of – you grow up then and there. You become Adult. Vihir moves in similar territory as Sameer & his Nachiketdada try to decipher the meaning of life around them. They are not only cousins but best friends too. One (Sameer) idolises the other but the other is lost. He is also trying to find himself. And its through one’s loss, that the other discovers himself.

But what kind of loss is it ? Is it just being invisible ? Or more than that. Here comes the maturity in the writing and direction part.  And now slowly all the dots connect. The simple game of hide and seek & chinese whispers dont remain the same anymore. Dont want to write more here to spoil the experience for you.

The character actors are all familar faces of marathi cinema. Lead actors Madan Deodhar (Sameer) & Alok Rajwade (Nachiket) say it more through the silences and gestures than the dialogues. Alok was also the lead in Siddharth Sinha’s FTII diploma film Udhedbun which bagged the Silver Bear at Berlin Film Festival in 2008. Shot gorgeously by Sudheer Palsane, the camera takes you straight inside the family affairs. The acting across the board is so natural that it looks like someone just put a camera there. Am not sure if the actors spent some time together before the shoot or what lead to such strong bond on screen but its pure magic.

When the first half got over, I was bit lost wondering if its the end of the film. And it could have been a superb end there. As i came out and met few other film buffs, realised that others also felt the same. So now what ? What will he do in the second half ? How will he wrap up ?

Fuck Syd Field and fuck all plot points. Umesh Kulkarni’s second half is pure visual delight. Mood piece. At one point, some 20 minutes of the film is complete silence. No dialogues. And once you are with the character, you know what that silence means. If you have ever loved and lost someone, you know its difficult to find a way out.  You dont want to hear people talking. They just dont make sense. You need no gyaan. You need that journey to nowhere. Remember last year’s Dev D ?

In the secod half, I felt the same once again. When “the well” scene comes, I thought here is one more end. But then there is some more. Its a journey of self-discovery. So, no point trying to figure out an end to join the dots. Let it go on.

And as a killer line in Rocket Singh song goes…Uljhe nahi to kaise suljhoge…bikhre nahi to kaise nikhroge. Nobody grows up in years, its always in deeds.

Water is life. And death too. In every drop. Everywhere. The subtle hints, the subtext and the layers – by the end it seems nothing is as simple as it looks.

(PS – Its great that AB Corp produced it. All respect. Hope they do more such films. And those of you who still think that am biased against the Bachchans, doesnt this post say enough to shut you up! We all love to champion a film that we like. Rest doesnt matter. It seems Jaya Bachchan was the key person for making this happen. This surely is one tight slap on the face of Raj Thackeray and his supporters who claimed Guddi buddhi zali, tari ajun akkal nahi aali. And do watch it on big screen. You need to dive into that water. The dark theatre and the big screen sets the perfect mood. )

Click on the play button to see the opening scene of Vihir

For more on Vihir, click here.

  1. Anand Kadam says:

    wow….need to watch this asap…good to see marathi cinema is going places……

  2. @pvijay says:

    I feel like calling this ur most amazing post, at least in recent times. I could understand well how u feel🙂

    Well, many of these things I also had. A cousin who is my best friend, vacation in grandma’s place… Wish to see the film soon. (Do they have subtitles?😐 )

    Remember reading Pradeep Sebastian in The Hindu, I think 6 years ago (Ya, when I was very much U25😛 ) about how Indian cinema has ignored adolescence. Actually it’s such a goldmine for creators. Let there be more Vihirs.

    PS: We may think of forgiving AB if he finds noble uses for his “hard earned” money😉

  3. hardik mehta says:

    brilliant. pvr juhu has one show in afternoon. but it deserves a viewing…!!

    the image combined with synopsis reminds me of amarcord. more power to umesh kulkarni.

    just wrote something about Amit dutta’s “aadmi ki aurat…”

    • akishaha says:

      Thanks a lot for such a wonderful review….🙂

      This is really a amazing film, no doubt @ it…..I want to watch this in theater for its Visuals…🙂

  4. moifightclub says:

    @Anand – do watch n let me know what u think.

    @pvijay – absolutely spot on! the days of U-25!

    @Hardik – wow u managed to watch aadmi ki aurat! thnx for the link. wanted to read.

  5. pardemerehnedo says:

    the first thing after LSD tonight
    also hows Lahore ? People are saying its not that bad.

  6. anupama bose says:

    beautifully written… u summed it up !

  7. […] film to catch this weekend. Go dope! And if you can, do watch Umesh Kulkarni’s marathi film Vihir. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Kaminey’s Dhen Tedan – the originalDhen […]

  8. mansi says:

    i dont think u r biased against d bachchans..i think u r BLOODY BIASED against them..still good dat u kept ur bias totally out of this film’s review..nd good dat u wrote wat u felt!!
    p.s. even khalid mohammed gave a 3.5 rating 2 paa..but dat doesn’t mean dat he is not biased 2wards d bachchans..coz ofcourse he is!! boy..u have 2 read some of his articles in khaleej times 2 know how nasty he is!!

  9. Anand Kadam says:

    went one hr before sunday afternoon show..and guess what the show was houseful……

  10. moifightclub says:

    @Anand – ah sad but so so so happy to know that!

    @Mansi – its something called opinion based on first n second hand experience! i got no gain/loss from them. and why we need to put KM everywhere!

  11. Prasad says:

    Watched it today…and wat an experience it was….simply loved it. Also felt too much nostalgic of my summer vacation days and those innocent joyrides @ my native place.

  12. Shreyas says:

    really excellent movie ….i have seen two times….only reaction i could give after the end was to stand up & clap…..

    great work kulkarnies & other actors..

  13. […] here is the post that I wrote after watching the film. […]

  14. rosheen says:

    I’m writing from London,UK; i went to London’s first Indian Independent Film Festival’.The Well is just perfect!! Kulkarni really got everything spot on here; the camera, lighting, pace, editing et all; looking forward to seeing what we get next year in London

  15. […] directors, as you claim in every interview, let me introduce you to a small marathi film called Vihir. It also deals with death, almost in a meditative way. As a character tries to understand it, […]



  17. The movie is so original, real. It’s so personal. You can feel everything. The characters ask the questions that you always had. Their dilemmas are yours.
    And Umesh Kulakarni has got everything perfect here. Just like his short Three of us, it really looks like he just kept the camera when everything was going on for real.How can one get such natural acting from kids? And the music was beautiful to say the least. I have seen, experienced the family environment he has shown and what he has depicted is pitch perfect.
    Truly, class apart..

  18. Yashpal says:

    I was living in my own world far away from life’s sorrow & sufferings. Just like most of us, I used to go to my dada ji’s place every year during summer vacation. All my uncles, aunties and my cousins would also come and those two months would pass just like that. If there was any wedding, it meant there was a bonus chance to meet dada ji, cousins in the middle of academic year other than those 2 mandatory summer months.

    And then one day, I got a call that dadaji was no more.. I didn’t realize what it meant.. I went to hometown for his ‘tervi’, and as soon as I reached there, my eyes started looking for my Dada ji, I could not find him…. I didn’t have my lunch that day, my mom thought I didn’t eat because I didn’t like the food. So, she made ‘kadi’ but my ‘bua’ came and took entire house on her head and scolded my mom for putting ‘green chilly’ instead of dry red chilly in the ‘kadi’, she said using green chilly was mark of celebration and should not be used when there is death in the house. I was like ‘what the hell is wrong with you? Are you insane?’. I was confused, I was struggling to digest the fact that my dada ji was no more, and her daughter was worried about what kind of chilly is going into the food.. I was in class 10 at that time, just when I was supposed to dive into my future, I got stuck with past. I went into the shell, and avoided meeting people. For days, I sat alone for hours and could not make sense of anything. All kinds of thoughts used to come. The line between sense and senseless was blurred. I started writing a diary to make sense of something, but I couldn’t. I stopped going to hometown unless it was some wedding or any other function. But even in those weddings, it was never the same. The bond between cousins didn’t exist anymore. Did we grow up and stopped caring or was Dada ji the binding force? I could not figure it out. It took years to come to terms with my Dada ji’s death.

    I thought it was all over. But it was not….

    Last night, I saw Vihir.. Ten minutes into the film and memories of my hometown started pouring in. Same uncle, aunties, cousins. Just like Sameer takes jackfruit, I used to take a particular brand of chocolates to my home town. Same game of hide and seek with cousins. Same atmosphere, everything was same. Everything was alright and then came the tragedy… It started making me uncomfortable, same set of questions, same pondering pointlessly for hours, every frame was straight out of my life… I wanted to hide but I couldn’t. Film ended. With no thoughts in the mind, went straight to bed. I could not sleep, the whole night I stared blankly at the ceiling. All those buried questions popped up again. After an entire day, I’m yet to come out of this film completely.

    I don’t know if I have found myself or lost all over again. Perhaps, i’ll never know…

  19. suresh says:

    mala vatate vihir mhanje ek khup mota chitrachya palikadacha canvas, so..deep….deeep…………………..

  20. Rohan Jadhav says:

    Really a masterstroke cinema n grt analysis also. But u ruined it at the end by getting political. It seems u understand the movies way better than actual happenings. So please dont get unnecessorily political n comment on Raj. It just shows ur lack of maturity in understanding the issue.

  21. vijay says:

    Watched this movie yesterday. Brilliant!!!!! Made me feel nostalgic too. A must watch.

  22. Gaurav gore says:

    A story of vihir is good. But i can give the new story to Umesh kulkarni. Reply

  23. Swapnil says:

    What did that game of Hide n seek and chinese whispers in the movie indicate? What is its significance??? Do reply soon…!

  24. […] in a good way, it also reminded me of an all time favourtive film of mine – Umesh Kulkarni’s Vihir. Because love, loss, death, water, wandering souls and peace – the motifs are the same here. […]

  25. […] of Marathi cinema’s foray into a deeper introspection on coming-of-age stories (others being Vihir, Fandry, Rege, and Shala)** can be thought of as a watershed moment in Maharashtra itself where […]

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