Marathi film review: Masala

Director: Sandesh Kulkarni

Failure and discouragement are the surest stepping stones to success, and a never-say-die attitude only adds to the sweetness of one's triumph. Marathi film, Masala, has been lovingly crafted with that optimistic theory as its basic premise.

Girish Kulkarni, who recently won 2 National Film Awards for his Marathi film, Deool, is the central character in Masala (a blend of spices). The film has been inspired by the life and times of Hukumchand Chordia, founder of Pravin Masalewale, a leading Indian brand of spices.

Revan (Girish Kulkarni), a young 'entrepreneur' full of the buoyancy that is the very essence of hopefulness, believes in keeping on trying till he succeeds. In spite of being waylaid by Fate and with only a string of business failures to show on his resume, Revan keeps chasing his dreams, never letting disappointment be a hurdle.

But his constant business fiascos lead to an increasing list of irate creditors, and he has to find newer ways and excuses to escape them. To avoid these creditors who are baying for his blood, Revan has to frequently skip from one town to another.

In his journey across Maharashtra, he is accompanied by his loving wife Sarika (Amruta Subhash), who fully supports all his business ventures and endeavours. By some quirk of fate, Revan finds himself in Solapur where he again starts a business with his brother-in-law.

So does Revan finally succeed in his so-called entrepreneurship? Where does his quest finally stop? Does he finally return triumphant because of his optimism? Is he able to build a foundation with the bricks that luck, or the lack of it, has thrown at him?

These are the very questions that this fine film seeks to answer as it makes you a part of Revan's life and journeys along which he comes many colorful and vibrant people.

From each of these strangers that he meets, he gets a ray of hope that helps him shape his own identity and character.

The cast of the movie includes Jyoti Subhash, Shrikant Yadav, Gargi Phule-Thatte, among others.

First time director Sandesh Kulkarni has brought together three veterans of Marathi theatre - Dr Shriram Lagoo, Dr Mohan Agashe and Dilip Prabhavalkar -- in Masala. And though Lagoo only has a guest appearance, Agashe and Prabhavalkar have impressive roles.

The film would have been incomplete without another couple, Kalyan and Sumati (played by Hrishikesh Joshi & Sneha Majgaonkar), who are Revan's co-travellers.
As the title suggests, Masala is all about a perfect blend of people doing perfect jobs, adding to the spice of life and making it that much more enjoyable.

The movie's songs blend with the story beautifully. Umesh Kulkarni, who directed brilliant films like Valu, Vihir and Deool, this time chooses to be the producer, offering the director's chair to Sandesh Kulkarni.

Sandesh has done a pretty good job in his directorial debut. The film slows down a bit after the interval, but soon gets back on track.
Besides acting in the movie, Girish Kulkarni (Revan) has also written the story, the screenplay and the dialogues for the film.

Amruta Subhash is brilliant as Sarika and does her job with aplomb. The on-screen chemistry between Girish and Amruta alone makes the film watchable.
To cut a long story short, if Maharashtra wants to bring in more National Film Awards, then films like Masala are needed to break the language barrier and win an all-India audience.

Masala is being released in 175 theatres all over Maharashtra; with about 450 screenings every day.