Well Done Baby(Amazon Prime)
Starring Amruta Khanvilkar, Pushkar Jog, Vandana Gupte
Directed by Priyanka Tanwar
Rating: * ½
Marathi cinema has made great headway in terms of themes performances and execution. But the fascination bordering on fixation with rural themes has given Marathi cinema its own self-limiting spectrum. If I could only say that Well Done Baby yanks Marathi cinema into an urban environment—London, no less—and emerges a winner.
Sadly it doesn’t. Well Done, Baby is not well done at all. Its 90-minute excursion into a young couple’s marriage ruined by a monstrously interfering mother-in-law reminded me of AnilGanguly’s Kora Kagaz where Jaya Bhaduri and Vijay Anand’s marriage was destroyed by the former’s mother Achala Sachdev’s constant interference.
Here the mother, played by an over-acting Vandana Gupte, is an officious busybody following her daughter and son-in-law around , filming them on a phone, offering them unsolicited advise,listening in to their bedroom conversations. Quite understandably the couple Aditya and Meera are on the verge of a split.
After 30 minutes of watching the couple bicker over ma-in-law’s bullying I though the husband and wife would go their separate ways and we would be free to go home(provided we were unfortunate enough to be watching the film in a theatre).But no . Meera gets pregnant and the couple gives the marriage on try.
Then begins the audiences tortuous inclusion into scenes describing pre-birth therapy , yoga lessons and baby gyan.While the couple’s bickering continues , the mother-in-law shamelessly eavesdrops and meddles. Till the end in the hospital when she argues loudly with her son-in-law about the way the baby should be born, the screenwriter fails to see the mother-in-law as the problem in the marriage. She means well, you see.
Throughout the film the mother-in-law is seen as meddlesome but a well-meaning presence when in fact she is the problem. Well Done Baby is based on a fractured premise that never repairs itself as the narrative progresses. All through the film we see the couple trying to project themselves as urbane and sophisticated by speaking a mongrel mix of Marathi and English. Hindi also comes in with Meera’s gynecologist.
Oh , Meera’s husband is a psychiatrist and there is this foreigner woman patient who tells him, “I can’t stop thinking about how you would look naked.”
This woman needs help.So does this film, which tries to be cute and cool and only ends up being annoying and silly. I guess Amruta Khanvilkar and Pushkar Jog who play the squabbling couple may be good actors if given better lines and a more credible situation to prove their worth. This is neither the time nor the place to recognize any merit in any of the actors or technicians. Sitting through 90 minutes of this crashing bore is equivalent to conquering a Himalayan peak.