Reviewed by Vaidehi Taman (@vaidehisachin)
The Indian independence movement had a long history. The British are predatory the resources of their Indian subjects, who have reached their breaking point. Almost every Indian then participated in the freedom struggle; it wasn’t just limited to famous freedom fighters or noticeable places. Various small and remote places which hardly have any mention, but then contributed towards freedom struggle. Recently many films were made on those unknown heroes and unsung places. Sandook is a Marathi film which is based on pre-independence era in Sambhalgad, Maharashtra. Now Atul Kale’s Sandook attempts in representing these incidents amazingly.
Wamanrao (Sumeet Raghavan) works in the post office and lives with his wife (Bhargavi Chirmule) and son. He is proud of his forefathers, who had made vital contribution to the history of Maharashtra. However, Wamanrao lacks bravery to face any challenge. He is a laughing stock among the villagers, including his astrologer neighbour Shyamrao (Sharad Ponkshe). Sharad Ponse keeps audience engaged and curious. The entire movie is light hearted, humourous, somewhat serious and dark comedy too. The screenplay is well scripted and movie has enough mystery to keep viewers glued to their seats. The period drama was superbly portrayed. Sumeet Raghavan steals every frame with his outstanding acting skills. This is his first Marathi movie but he being a seasoned actor, did justice to the character Wamanrao played him. Raghavan is the key point that makes the film watchable.
Wamanrao is keen to join the revolutionaries but doesn’t have the courage to do so. The revolutionaries kill a senior British officer, who is replaced by the ruthless Scott (Brandon Hill). The serious consequences of Scott’s appointment related to a small sandook (chest) lands Wamanrao in a mess.
Sandook is visually amazing; it takes you to that era. The locations are very beautiful, village landscapes are very well shown by cinematographer Ajit V. Reddy. Sharad Ponkshe succeeds in a challenging role. Brandon Hill, as Scott, suffers due to the clichéd characterization of a British officer. Rahul Gore plays his part well as Rana. Bhargavi Chirmule, as Wamanrao’s wife, is interesting. Arun Nalawade, Rahul Mehendhale, Shantanu Gangane, Firdaus Mewawala, Divesh Midge and Ramesh Vani provide good performances. Over all the film is entertaining and one must watch it as this is very unique attempt by the Marathi film makers.
Background music is soothing; especially The Lord Krishna song in Sanskrit makes you hum it even after leaving the theatre. Lavni was not needed, as it breaks the focus on main topic, but overall music was an average.
Sandook is produced by Vishwajit Gaikwad and Mandar Keni. Vishwajit is the producer of “Vedyachi Jatra and Mandar is not new to the Marathi film industry. Directed by Atul Kale who is known for directing movies like Matichya Chuli, De Dhakka and Shahanpan Dega Deva. Screenplay is by Ashish Raikar, Atul Kale and Subodh Khanolkar. The film’s music has been composed by Ajit-Sameer and lyrics are written by Guru Thakur, Vidyadhar Bhave and Ashok Bagwe.