After working in the television industry for about 15 years in various capacities, Rony D’Costa decided to quit it all and pursue happiness. He generally finds it in dark theatres or under the open sky and write about those adventures here and here. Here’s Rony’s recco post on the marathi film Masala.
“Do you do this for your own happiness?”, when this question is asked to the character played by Dilip Prabhvalkar, a scientist experimenting to create bio fuel, he says, “mi anadasaati kaahich karat naahi. Ananddaani karto”. Loosely translated as, “I don’t do things for happiness. I do it with happiness”. Sandesh Kulkarni’s Masala is filled with such gems of wisdom and is casually thrown in scene after scene by characters straight out of Malgudi Days. It almost works like a self-help movie for entrepreneurs without any high-handed preaching. No wonder then that it reminded me of ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’.
Revan(Girish Kulkarni) and his wife Sarika(Amruta Subhash) keep shuttling from one village to another hiding away from creditors. Not because they are dishonest people but, as it’s shown in one scene, they are more worried about the problems of the people who owe them money. From one failed business to another one quietly supported by his wife, Revan reaches Solapur where he meets Sarika’s long lost cousin (Hrishikesh Joshi) and his wife (Sneha Majgaonkar). Thus begins Revan’s encounters with some crazy, quirky and eccentric characters who ultimately become his family.
The film is not in a hurry to reach its destination. It doesn’t even care about the plot much and to go by traditional rule book, it’s devoid of any conflict too. Debutant director Sandesh Kulkarni invests all the screen time in his characters and their bittersweet life. It works like a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film as Girish Kulkarni’s writing is simple and effective and never resorts to melodrama to make a point. Like RajKumar Hirani’s films, this one also chooses to look at the goodness in human beings, so none of the characters have any shades of black.
I strongly feel that Masala should be made compulsory viewing in business schools and can work as an anti-depressant for people who have given up on their dreams. It also reminded me of ‘The Alchemist’ in the way it talks about finding the treasure within you. Add to that the lilting background score which makes its presence felt only if you choose to focus on it. On acting front, Girish Kulkarni plays the role of Revan with the right amount of innocence and Amruta Subhash ably supports him with the silent portrayal of her character. Hrishikesh Joshi’s character is one of my favorites in the film and Sneha Majgaonkar, who makes her debut with this film, has an infectious smile. I loved the scene in which she tells Sarika about her husband’s problems with a smile on her face as if she is praising him.
It also has one of the most romantic scenes I have seen on the big screen in recent times. The scene when Sarika has to take her husband’s name in the form of an Ukhane (a Marathi custom in which the wife takes her husband’s name in the form of couplets).
The film is loosely based on the life story of Hukmichand Chordia of Pravin Masalewale fame. It looks at their struggle in a lighter vein and with the rose-tinted glasses. The next time I look at a packet of Pravin Masala, scenes from this film will start floating in my head.