Deepak Dobriyal Is Beyond Outstanding In BABA

Baba(Marathi)

Starring Deepak Dobriyal, Nandita Dhuri

Directed by  Raj  Gupta

Rating: *** ½ (3 a half stars)
 There is  much that can be said about Deepak Dobriyal’s  skills as an actor. But the  best compliment is this. Those  astonishing skills never  show on screen. Dobriyal immerses  in his characters so effectively  it is like the merger  of the actor’s soul into the  character’s body.

In this moving though fractured and finally compromised  tale of genealogical  and instinctive  parenthood Dobriyalplays Madhav, a mute-and-deaf  man so close to Nature we almost feel him embracing every  tree and  every  blade of  glass that the camera  captures with such rare care in rural Maharashtra.

The  unassuming  tale does  just fine  for itself while constructing a  blissful  universe  for Madhav, his deaf-and-mute  wife Anandi(Nandita Dhuri) and  their  only son Shankar(Aryan  Meghji).

Some  of  the  best Marathi films in  recent times have been set and  shot in rural Maharashtra. Sadly, though  Babamakes  telling use  of  the  scents and  feelings of  the countryside  it denies itself the joy of being a  great  film likeSairat, Natrang and Court  by a wide margin. The problems in the narrative have  largely to do with the  unwanted  extraneous doses  of melodrama that  visit  what was essentially simple heartfelt tale of a small happy  family where words  have  no relevance until the world outside impinges on  the idyllic bliss with its own  ideas of ‘civil’ living.

 The  melodrama ,in  the  form of   a woman claiming to be Shankar’s real  mother , creeps into the plot  to take over what  was  essentially a simple blissful existence  of nuclear family . The  chaotic invasive  presence not  only  mars  the  three protagonists’ life but also , in the wider context, creates a disturbance  in the tranquil  universe  of  the narrative.

While the melodrama is  an integral part of  the  film it is also salient  tool of  disempowering  what was  potentially a remarkably  serene and  thoughtful  study  of  familial kinship in a silent Chaplinesque  universe. Dobriyal , with  sturdy support from Nandita Dhuri and  Aryan Meghji keeps us so engaged in the family’s  untainted universe  that we  mourn the  extraneous presence  in their lives, and  not in the way that the narrative wants  us  to.

Baba is  a heartwarming,  though  flawed drama  that keeps us engaged  because Dobriyal is that kind of  a rare actor whose sincerity sublimates  every sign of subterfuge in  the storytelling.

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