Picasso Is Well-Intended But Dull

Picasso(Marathi, Amazon Prime)

Starring  Prasad Oak, Samay Sanjeev Tambe

Directed  by  Abhijeet Mohan Warang

Rating: **

A deathly  stillness shrouds  the  characters and ambience  of Picasso, as though the writer-director Abhijeet Mohan Warang shared his  characters’ hopelessness. Even the forced upbeat  ending  cannot  help us to escape from the feeling that we are watching  a feast  of grief laid out on table of  tragedy.

 Picasso is supposedly  a  sum-total of many  factors. It  tries to  be  a poignant  comment on the  dying cultural art-forms specially rural  folk  traditions.  In this case  it is the strain of   folk theatre  known as Dasavatara, still being  staged in remote inaccessible  areas  of Maharashtra.We  meet  Pandurang(the  talented  Prasad  Oak) telling his  young son not to waste his time in dabbling with fine  arts. 

“You don’t want to  end  up a failure  like me,” the father  is teary-eyed. The son, played  by  a passably  curious Samay Sanjeev Tambe, looks on impassively. He  has just been informed at his  school that he has  won a prestigious scholarship to an art school  in Spain for which he needs money.

The dying embers  of one  fading artiste  counseling another  hopeful young artiste are  never  ignited. The narrative feels inert, almost dead carrying as it does the heavy weight of social comment without the  accompanying  levity of  expression that would keep all preachification  at bay. 

 I  expected some hefty father-son scenes. While  Prasad Oak as  the father  does instill a sense  of tragic doom  and  dormant drama to the proceedings, the  boy playing  the key role of the son is unable to  comprehend  the socio-cultural references that his  role  must  carry. He   just looks  like a little  boy who has no idea why his father is jabbering on  about lost opportunities.

 Worse still, most of the playing time is  devoted  to  the staging of  a Dasavatara  play in a village  compound where  the audience  looks as  interested  as we are likely to be in this  film.It is sad but true that the  film fails   to hold our attention. A rare film such as  this  which attempts to make a   statement on the dying  cultural  traditions of  rural India  should  have been brighter  more  involving in tone. What we  feel  for  Pandurang and his  son  is a distant sympathy.And  that’s just not enough.

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