The plot of a man realizing he suffers from a fatal disease and doesn’t have much time left has been explored plenty of times on the big screen — not just in India but also in films abroad. Though Nipun Dharmadhikari’s Baapjanma has a similar plot, it stands out from the other films of this collective.
The film has an entertaining and funny twist that comes without compromising the emotional impact. This makes Baapjanma one of the few deeply moving films to emerge from Marathi cinema in 2017 after Satish Rajwade’s Ti Saddhya Kay Karte, Varun Narvekar’s Muramba and Makrand Mane’s Ringan: The Quest.
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Baapjanma is the story of Bhaskar Pandit (Sachin Khedekar). He lives alone in retirement in Pune. His son is settled abroad while his daughter is married and lives in Karnataka. Bhaskar is caught in a routine life without much excitement. His only companions are his help Mauli (Pushkaraj Chirputkar) and a pet dog, Tiger.
One day, Bhaskar is informed that he is suffering from brain cancer and has only a year to live. His children are not on talking terms with him; they have not been in touch with him, nor do they intend to do so anytime soon. So, Bhaskar takes it upon himself to spend time with them and their children before his time is up. To accomplish this, he devises an unusual plan.
Bhaskar types out a long message for his son, who is able to see that his father has been typing something in the chat window. But the hesitant father deletes the entire message without sending it. The father’s hesitancy in talking to his own son is shown in a creatively modern manner. Such modern elements are used in the narration at every stage in a film that promotes traditional values.
But what takes you completely by surprise is the continuous dose of sensible humour. The makers have smartly avoided giving out any hint in the promos of the film being an entertaining affair. In fact, there is one incident that appears right out of a commercial caper. But the director and the actors make it look as sensible as possible. The idea also brings in some thriller elements.
However, a few cinematic liberties and errors also crop up as the consequences of the protagonist’s secret plan. A decision by an important character in the end is also debatable. But as the climax is moving, this is not really a problem.
Since CCTVs play a large role in story, it must have been a challenge for the cinematographer to shoot even indoors. But Abhijit D Abde has managed the task to perfection. Some tight editing is also on display. ‘Man Shevantiche Phool’, the soothing theme song, is used like an anthem.
Khedekar has had a memorable run this year, with delightful acts in Muramba and Prasad Oak’s Kaccha Limbu. He is in terrific form again in Baapjanma. The veteran has again proved his mettle in both the emotional and humorous moments.
Though Pushkaraj Chirputkar plays the help, he has a meaty role and makes full use of it. Satyajeet Patwardhan and Sharvari Lohokare, who play Khedekar’s son and daughter, imbue their characters with the right emotions. Akarsh Khurana fits well as the protagonist’s confidant.
Madhav Vaze as the old neighbour gives a brilliant performance with just a few dialogues. Vaze had played the child in Acharya Atre’s classic Shyamchi Aai (1953) and later appeared in 3 Idiots (2009).
Overall, Baapjanma is a fine entertainer that will move you.
– By Keyur Seta