Well Done, Son
Actor Nitish Bharadwaj turns director by filming Sudha Murthy’s emotional thriller of a son who brings peace to his dead father’s troubled soul. This is also a telling comment on how one moment of cowardice by a man can ruin the lives of two women, giving justice and happiness to neither.
In the happy, upmarket Kulkarni family, archaeologist Venkatesh Kulkarni is uneasy. He has just cremated his father, Madhavrao but after the last rites are performed, the crows don’t touch the food laid out for them. Hindus believe that when this happens, the departed soul has a lingering unfulfilled desire.
“I’ll fulfill whatever it is,” promises Venkatesh Kulkarni and a crow hops across to peck at the food.
Venkatesh has no hint what his father’s incomplete desire could possibly have been. Even his mother, after more than half a century of marriage to him, has no clue. But destiny leads him by the hand when he chances upon his own look-alike in a village. Unravelling what binds this stranger to him takes him to the old and feisty Bhagirathi. A tale close to his dead father’s life, a past that even his mother was unaware of, unfolds bit by bit. Along with Bhagirathi’s sorrow, his own mother’s hidden emptiness despite a long marriage, are like the ruins his archaeological work often throws up: you can learn about the past but there’s not very much you can do about it.
When you have accomplished names like Tanuja and Sachin Khedekar toplining the cast, the performances are bound to be nuanced and rooted. Tanuja slips into the body of the clean-shaven widow and becomes the woman who must be given whatever justice is possible in this lifetime. Sachin Khedekar as the two Venkatesh Kulkarnis is as at home in the driver’s seat of a Honda City as he is on a bicycle in the village. Suhas Joshi as the wife who was married to Madhavrao for five decades but never really knew her husband, portrays her dilemma well.
The story does have its moments of convenient coincidences including a will turning up and a diary that brings peace to Bhagirathi at the last moment. But put it down to destiny and you can skim over it. It’s a dramatic thriller, so the drama is heavy enough to sometimes go into the melodramatic too. But Nitish Bharadwaj handles the subject well, showing a sensitive understanding of the women left dissatisfied by a man who was himself unfulfilled.
For a gripping thriller that has a variety of emotions,
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