This is the first time I am reviewing a regional film, not because I did not find any other recent film review worthy, but because I truly believe every viewer who has watched Fandry should let others know of their opinion, so that important films like these are encouraged. Nagraj Popatrao Manjule, a national award winner for his charming short film ‘Pistulya’ falls into a new breed of directors. Directors who dare you to watch films which speak and exhibit truth. Nagraj happened to win a best film award for his film ‘Pistulya’ 3 years back at a film festival in Pune, where incidentally even I was among the winners for my short film. Little did I know then that this man would be solely responsible for giving Marathi cinema, one of its most powerful and thoughtful films. And in a fitting way, he cast Jyoti Subhash (the legendary Marathi actress who awarded us both on that fateful night) in a 1 scene cameo, wherein she scolds the boy for climbing up and orders him to come down.
Fandry which means a Pig in Kaikadi is a film which sets it all up for a grand 20 minute finale which ends with a poignant shot. It is a film which speaks of one sided love breaking the caste barriers and where in a black sparrow is a reference to an opportunity which gets away every time. But where the film falters is the director’s delay in getting to the point. The film meanders a bit in trying to showcase the extent of the love which the teenager protagonist jabya feels for the upper caste girl Shalu, it also shows a scene too many where in the boy’s father is looking for odd jobs and faces humiliation. But as I said, all’s forgiven at the end of its climax which unfolds like an IPL match what with a spectator comparing the pig catching sequence to an actual match. And this sequence also includes a master-stroke where in the elusive pig which is finally in the family’s grasp gets away when the national anthem forces everyone to stand up straight in respect and the pig uses that moment to saunter away happily.
Fandry is an intensely honest film which uses the backdrop of Akolner, a village in the Nagar district of Maharastra to showcase the glaring caste divide which exists even today. It may pretty well be the director’s own story and his triumph over the society. The film deserves brownie points for giving adolscense films a new identity and as I mentioned before, jabya’s story needed to be told.
The acting is superb all round with special mention for Kishore Kadam who practically owns the part of Kachra. The young leads deliver a commendable performance and Nagraj himself shines in a part which I believe reflects his inner self. The cinematography is spellbinding and Vikram Amladi deserves all the praise which he has been getting recently. And lastly, it is the background music which gives the film its voice and Aloknanda Dasgupta tunes it perfectly.
Fandry is an important film and not watching it would be a cinematic crime. Because, there is a Jabya in everyone of us. This one is just a bit different.