Quirky, funny, sentimental yet simple! Bollywood top list actress Priyanka Chopra's debut venture in Marathi cinema as producer, VENTILATOR, coming under her banner Purple Pebble Pictures in association with Magij Pictures, Zee Studios and Pooja Films is a refreshingly touching ode to family in general and fatherhood in particular. VENTILATOR
Having the humanity and heart that can naturally transcend its reach beyond Marathi audience, this moving picture helmed by FERRARI KI SAWAARI fame Rajesh Mapuskar sees him in much better control then his previous hit-n-miss attempt.
Cinematically though not a momentous turn for Marathi cinema as Sandeep Sawant's SHWAAS (2004), VENTILATOR is certainly a moment of heartfelt populist recognition for Priyanka Chopra as a producer, Rajesh Mapuskar as a director and Ashutosh Gowariker as an actor in spite of its manipulative attempt to evoke tears in the end.
Writer director Rajesh Mapuskar pens this dilemma of the big large Kamerkar family on screen. Its three days to go for the much awaited Ganapati festival and the Kamerkar's based in the city of Mumbai and in their ancestral village are giving final touches on how to welcome their favourite deity on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Suddenly, the doyen of the family Gajju Kaka, goes into a coma. He is put on life support system (Ventilator) in Mumbai. Chaos, confusion and an opportunity to settle old disputes makes a grand entry. Kamerkar's from Mumbai to their coastal village and from America pour into the hospital turning its lobby as an exclusive Kamerkar's zone.
Right from grand cousins from the ancestral village - Nikhil Ratnaparkhi (Pritam), Ajit (Abhijeet Chavan) including daughter-in-law played by Namrata Awate Samberao, even son Prasanna (Jitendra Joshi) have something to prove and demand from Gajju Kaka who is hanging between life and death.
Nephew Raja (Ashutosh Gowariker) a successful filmmaker has high regards for Gajju Kaka but while his stay in the hospital, Raja finds an uncanny identification between his relationship with his father Bhau (Satish Alekar) and the misunderstanding between Prasaanna and his father Gajju Kaka.
Amidst all chaos, comic mishaps, quirky and endearing moments, just when the ventilator reaches its time to go off, The Kamerkar's have learnt an unforgettable lesson in life.
Rajesh Mapuskar's simple, easy and smooth flowing narration toned in the quirkiness of the local flavor is beguiling to a lot of extent. The influence of Rajkuamr Hirani who is awed by Basu Chatterjee, Hrishikesh Mukherjee is evident. This time a glimpse of Ritwik Ghatak makes a welcome flash during the opening reels when an oldie from the ancestral village is introduced. All such nuances makes the audience ignore the rather unusual title and helps them to digest the fact that how come a private hospital turns into a meeting room for Kamerkar's.
Anyhow, the director's fascination to the above mentioned greats and the probable push and pull of art and cinema compels him to shed creative individuality which was seen this year earlier in Ram Reddy's whimsically funny Kannada film THITHI that had similarity in its premise consisting of an aged patriarch of a family and his three generations.
Rajesh Mapuskar makes sure that VENTILATOR remains crowd pleasing and in an attempt to give a tearful jolt, the maker stumbles to manipulative emotion evoking techniques and paints the doctors as holy caring cows and even tries to ease out the horror of ventilator - the device in hospital projecting it as more of a life saver for premature babies in its incubators avatar.
The performances are endearing in this picture which boost of around 100 + actors in all. Ashutosh Gowariker as an actor is a warm welcome. Though he plays himself, the actor turned director does it piously and competently. Producer Priyanka Chopra makes an endearing cameo playing herself. Anyhow her first Marathi song 'Baba' soulfully sung is more of a promotional ploy.
Veteran actress Sulabha Arya is competent, seasoned actress Sukanya Kulkarni is commendable, Nilesh Diwekar, Deepak Shirkey, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi, Namrata Awate Samberao, Satish Alekar make an impression in their roles.
But the real surprise is Boman Irani as the good hearted doctor. It's a sheer delight to watch him in this brilliantly effortless act who tries to speak in Marathi and then turns into Hindi to make his point clear.
VENTILATOR may be filmy and turns manipulatively emotional towards the end but its endearing simplicity; quirky fun is weaved under a positive message of living together and staying together with a refreshing ode to fatherhood.
Watch it for the love of your family and love for your father