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Upperstall Review



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Mee Sindhutai Sakpal


Marathi, Drama, 2010, Color

This is a story based in the rural plains of Vidharbha in the state of Maharashtra, India. Spanning 5 decades, it follows the travails of a teenage village girl, Chindi, who according to a bizarre tradition, is married off to a man more than twice her age. Saddled with a girl child, she is abandoned by her husband and ostracized from society. From the verge of committing suicide, Sindhu, as she now christened herself, rises like the phoenix, finding a revolutionary road to a virtual rebirth. From being doomed, she turns savior and undertakes to protect all abandoned infants under her wing. Her amazing story of survival culminates in California, where Sindhu, now 60, in invited to address the first ever World Marathi conference...

Considering the fine strides that Marathi cinema has taken in recent times, Mee Sindhutai Sakpal is a colossal disappointment. Brilliant subject matter, good performances overall, shooting at real locations and good intentions all fail to come together in a rich cinematic experience the film should rightfully have been.

The problem with the film first and foremost is the extremely poorly written screenplay. Just having great base material to start with doesn't necessarily translate into a great script. The film, looking at Sindhutai's life through a series of flashbacks even as she boards a plane for the first time to address a Marathi convention in San Jose, simply fails to come to life or make you marvel at the journey of a remarkable and courageous woman who fought all sort of adversities in life to finally come triumphant. The story goes back and forth from present to past and back far, far too often for you to be able to stay with Sindhutai long enough in the flashback sequences and go through her emotional journey with her. The past is thus a series of disjointed incidents as if the filmmaker zeroed in on a collage of interesting incidents in her life and using the flashback technique felt this was enough to connect them. The problem is that apart from a few scenes of her suffering or where you do see her spunk, you never get to see a coherent smooth flowing story. On top of that, the transitions back and forth are so, so obvious. The other big, big issue with me in the story is that Sindhutai's rise comes much, much too late in the film, well into the second half. In that sense, her climb is given much too little screen time and this takes away tremendously from her achievements as it continues to focus on her being down most of the time. This is the film's biggest failure and total injustice to a remarkable personality.

The cast uniformly perform well, the casting is by and large spot on and this does manage to lift the film a notch or two. But sadly, not the technicalities. That is the film's other big problem. Though it uses real and interesting locations in rural Mahatashtra, the film is weakly directed, and shot and edited in a shoddy manner. Narrative flow is jerky and the background score is a big no-no.

All in all, extremely disappointing to see a film fail its subject matter so badly.

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan




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