Post Shwaas, it looked like Marathi films were set for a long overdue resurgence. Much was made of it, in fact. Although I’ve missed quite a few of the films in that time, some which I watched didn’t impress me much. They still seemed playing a catch-up game (but I could be very wrong, because I haven’t watched many, I’ll reiterate). And just as I was beginning to wonder if it’s going to be a lull again, with filmmakers settling into a predictable format, Valu has restored my faith.
Punds wrote an excellent review here, which everyone should read, if they’re deciding on whether to watch the movie. He’s very thorough as usual. I’m just going to say one thing: watch Valu. Of course, I don’t know what a non-Marathi speaking person can take home from the movie, because there isn’t much “happening”. Much of the movie is in the dialogs. I think this film will be very hard to translate. I shudder to think of what the sub-titles are going to be!
On the technical sides, the cinematography, as Punds has observed too, is top-notch. Never before, can I remember a Marathi film capturing the breathtaking landscapes of the rural Maharashtra so well. I was glad I watched it on the big screen. No songs to disturb the flow, either! And the background score is haunting to say the least.
But Valu’s greatest value is the way it has depicted the rural Marathi culture in confident brush strokes — painting the canvas one random square at a time. It reminded me of the great Marquez and his Chronicles of Death Foretold — the way the story unfolds, not through one narrator, but rather through multiple narrators, who’re probably as trustworthy as a sensationalist news anchor. In one scene in particular, the narrator’s voice says something, as something else happens — casting doubts on the veracity of the whole affair. It’s hard to trust anything, then on — it’s like the snapshot of the beginning of a folklore. Another similarity with “Chronicles” is the chronicler being part of the chronicles: the documentary man, who’s at the same time the noun and the verb. The chroniclers are a bunch of people who want a “documentary” to be done on them :).
And delightful is the tone of the language, so close to the real dialects I’ve heard – including the English words that have filtered into even the rural vocabulary now, although their forms alien to the urban ear. I could hear people asking each other what did a particular character say, a few times. The multiplex “Marathi” audience is probably as away from this world as the national/Internationl audience.
Lastly, it can easilly be viewed as a simple, light-hearted comedy too — thus making it equally enjoyable to those who just want to have a good time without thinking about it. Valu is surely one of the best Marathi films I’ve seen for a while. If you understand Marathi, just go watch it.
Another excellent review here.