Saw the show few hours back and it was a sheer delight to watch a Marathi movie done with such elegance and crispness. Having Marathi as my mother tongue helped me understand a lot of context that gets lost in translation for non native viewers.
Story : I won't go into the story as I really wish you watch the movie and be surprised with the freshness of a love story seldom told with such honesty and rooted in reality. It could have easily succumbed to being another Bollywoodish love story; shallow and melodramatic. Kudos to Nagraj Manjule for not bowing to the formulaic templates being dished out now days.
Dialogues : The movies scores very high on the dialogs partly because there is no attempt made to pander to city audiences. The language is kept as close to rural Marathi from Western Maharashtra that city slickers might easily miss the clever one liners that make even an average line an attention grabber. Slang used throughout the movie adds a earthy quality. I wanted to list it here, but IMDb's language recognition treats it as a spelling mistake. :-|
Music & Background score : This has to be the most significant factor to 'bring' the people to the theater. In the absence of known faces, the film depended a lot on the music to get people interested before the release and Ajay-Atul didn't disappoint! The melodies are few of the sweetest ones heard in years and they are served in varying degrees of moods too. From a dreamy melody for Parshya to the melodious fusion of rock to vocals for Archie juxtaposed with the peppy dance number 'Zing Zing Zingat' the music stands out for special mention. I get the feeling of having heard parts of the score before though. Can't pin point exactly.
Recording the symphony in Sony studios, LA has made the songs more enjoyable. Personally, I would rate them very close, if not better, than soundtracks from legends like Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer & James Horner.
Direction : Nagraj Manjule proves once again that movies with a message can be entertaining without being preachy. Especially, with the kind of subject he deals with it becomes very important to make sure it doesn't slip into a rhetoric bordering on a bias. It could be disastrous for a movie to 'hurt sentiments' in India and get away with it. He treads the narrow path with elegance and yet manages to shove a bitter pill down the throat of the audience without them knowing it.
All said and done, for all those who expect it to be a run of the mill love story shall be woken up for sure as the final scene unravels before them. It reminded me of the tracking shot in 'Taxi Driver'.
Camera work : The camera-work is top notch. Beautiful locales and magnificent vistas are captured with an equal bias to the protagonists. The slow mo shots embellish the movie without distracting the audience. In fact the audience erupted in joy to witness such slick work in a Marathi movie.
Acting : It is Archie (Rinku Rajguru) all the way. Her screen presence is without doubt impressive and difficult to believe her debut as well. Her face lends itself to many moments which would test even a seasoned actor. However, she carries all those scenes with a poise and honesty that the character demands. It is difficult to separate the character of Archie from Rinku such is the grasp of Rinku throughout the movie. Her character more of less decides the direction of the movie. Any lesser actor and the film would have been boring at 3hr length.
The rest of the characters are perfectly cast as well (good job by the casting director). Every character seems to essay a real person's sketch such is the honesty in the portrayal of the actors. Especially Parshya and his two partners in crime, Pradeep (aka Langda) & Salya (Salim).
Parshya (Aakash) is good looking and has carried off the somewhat sober Parshya's character with a lot of honesty. He emotes well and looks intimidating where it demands. He can definitely go a long way provided he gets similar roles in the future or he adds another dimension to his acting not demanded by Parshya's character.
Pradeep Bansode (Langdya) is a surprise package who stands by his friend and adds a lot of the comic relief throughout the first half. His eagerness to help out his friend emanates from his own failure, so it seems. He even blushes on his friends behalf!
Salim (Salya) is Parshya's neighbor and equally committed to the friendship. He adds the third angle to the chemistry among the three friends and is the voice of reason too. His acting evokes genuine warmth for Parshya.
Final comments : Nagraj has successfully coated a bitter pill in a sweet first half and sour second half that strikes the right chord as soon as it 'hits' you in the end.
*Watched again a 2nd time; heres the update*: Thank God for not reducing the length of the film. The film was equally enjoyable the second time around as well. Not to forget the masterstroke of a climax literally evoked a standing ovation from me again. Just wondering whether it was re-edited a bit. Either ways an excellent effort.