Natrang is a marathi movie that projects the world of theatre, its passion, challenges, politics etc. on to the big screen. Theatre, as against cinema, is known for its disquieting and disturbing revebrations it leaves on its viewers. The maker of this movie, Ravi Jadhav, has done well to transport these brave aspects on to the big screen.
The story plays around the travails of Guna, a manly figure, driven by his passion for theatre, finds himself cornered to play a pansy role on stage, and how the things turn around in his life and affect him. Atul kulkarni has done an exceptional job as the lead, Guna, wonderffully supported by a brilliant cast.
The amount of physical and mental effort Atul kulkarni has put into playing this role is amazing. His posturing as a strong wrestler, passion for theatre, anger at artists accepting gifts thrown at them,his pride in playing the King in the plays and his openness when his pride is questioned and starts training in womenly manners and transforming into this pansy charecter, and struggling to face his family and society has been essayed exceptionally by Atul.
The movie throws some disrupting questions at us- what is the construct of a manly image in our society? what does it take to follow ones passion in our society? what is the role of art? is it entertainment alone? what is it to an artist?
Kishore Khadam was brilliant as Pandba who mentors the fledgling group that Guna starts and goes on to manage their contracts and finances. His charecter comes across with different shades od grey and white. He is encouraging as the mentor and appears selfish and greedy on a couple of occassions. he is finally over burdened by the gravity of his actions on the life of Guna and falls into grief.
The film threw a lot surprising insights into a Marathi rural life. The huge power and influnce women folk play in theatre, as it unfolds through the roles of Nayna brilliantly played Sonalee Kulkarni and her mother, how much they are essential and vital to a theatre group in terms of attrcting the masses and spicing up the performance, their undersdtanding of the dynamics of theatre and how they are in a position to dominate and command respect, was quite an eye opener.
It is Nayna who insists on having a pansy male dancer as a pre condition to joining the theatre group and that leads to the deep turns the story takes. This pre condition and as it plays out in stage was quite an educative experience looking at what is the role of this Pansy Charecter on stage, how does it shift the glamour and attraction on stage, how it kind of shelters the women folk on stage and acts as a surge sink diverting attention and moderating the performance, and you start appreciating the wisdom of Nayna insisting on having this charecter in the play.
Laavani dance is a sparkling aspect of Marathi theatre. The dance and music simply lights up the stage and Sonali kulkarni simply sizzles in her dance performance in Apsara aali.