Movie Review: Ventilator
Star Cast: Ashutosh Gowariker, Sulbha Arya, Sukanya Kulkarni, Viju Khote, Satish Aalekar, Deepak Shirke & Boman Irani
Producers: Priyanka Chopra & Dr Madhu Chopra
Directed by Rajesh Mapuskar
Music Composed by Rohan Rohan
Censor Certificate: U & Runtime: 143 Minutes.
I saw Ventilator on a Monday (24th October) night, with a bunch of cinephiles and industry people recovering from katzenjammers of various types and intensities accrued at the weekend at 18th Mumbai Film Festival. We’d all had to wait in long queue to see it, some of us for over couple of hours, in the busy PVR Icon passageway. The crowd was mostly execrable when we actually sat down to watch this Marathi premiere, a crabby collection of deeply derisive and wearied crowd. Then the film started and the theatre went light-headed for two hours.
Dads are very special ~ Priyanka Chopra.
Gajanand Kamrekar is on ventilator as he faces his last days of dying from brain hemorrhage. Knowing that he is on ventilator Pritham (Nikhil Ratnaparkhi) calls everyone to Kohinoor Hospital in Mumbai. This dysfunctional family comes together and becomes clear why this family don’t catch up regularly. Old and new wounds will be coming to the forefront as the strong willed sons Prasanna (Jitendra Joshi) & Raja (Ashutosh Gowariker) of Gajanand battle it out. Secrets will be revealed in what may be the last family gathering.
They stick together despite their differences. That’s the beauty of an Indian family.
Ventilator marks the comeback of actor-director Ashutosh Gowariker as an actor, who was last seen in Sarkarnama (1998). He always tries to perform in a decent manner to the best of his ability as per the given role. It was a golden opportunity for Jitendra Joshi and he grabs the opportunity with both the hands. He scores the maximum even before veteran actors. Especially watch out for him in the finale and in the scene when gets the sight of his father for the first time. Satish Alekar, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi, Sukanya Kulkarni, Viju Khote, Boman Irani and Tanvi Abhyankar successfully manage to keep the viewer’s thoroughly engrossed with their performances in the limited characterizations. Nilesh Diwekar, Rahul Solapurkar, Sonamoni Jayant Gadekar, Nitin Jadhav,Bhushan Talang, Narayan Jadhav, Vijay Nikam, Rahul Pethe and Namratha come up with mediocre performances due to the reckless writing. Each character is trenchant and has an important role to play in formulating the story further. The climax is the crux of film that leaves the audience to figure out what Gajanand Kamrekar’s life actually is to them. Priyanka Chopra is pretty in a special cameo.
Relationships are like your teeth. To keep them clean, you have to keep brushing them.
Ventilator is about dysfunctional families, no matter if they are small films or classics or favorites populated by big stars, and are always prime landscapes for both drama and comedy. They are always successful because they make us feel better about our own family we have at home. We either step back saying “Finally there’s someone out there who has it as bad as I do or I guess my family is not that bad.” We either laugh at their deviltries as widely different or with their deviltries as kindred spirits and fellow gluttons for punishment. One can argue that every family is dysfunctional to some degree and that it’s just a matter of what your definitions are for dysfunctional, unique, crazy and most of all normal. Besides, “That’s how we do it, “always wins in the end.
Ventilator here transcends language and portrays the nuances of the father –son relationship in a promising way. The film right away begins on a natural note without taking any help of usual gimmicks and within the starting 15 minutes one feels connected to the main characters. The first gem of a scenes is introducing RK to large family and the second the family worried about Gaja’s demise during Ganapathi festival would mean a period of mourning, thus will ruin their pre-planned celebrations. Next introduces bubble-headed Nikhil Ratnaparkhi, Foodie Nitin Jadhav, Match maker Viju Khote, even an old man Tatya, who travels to Mumbai to use ventilator to get some fresh air and on the hand another character worried about promised toilet in village amidst of this crisis situation. In the first half, despite having a predictable dysfunctional theme and dragging at time due to huge cast, Ventilator successfully manages to keep you entertained in major scenes and with all entertaining performances.
However it’s the film’s second half that actually turns it into a better watch introducing many unexpected emotional twists moving far ahead than typical situations. Plus, it’s this final hour of the film where both Jitendra and Satish Alekar beat everyone else in the family hands down. Personally I loved the concluding half of Ventilator even more, as after a long time it was good to see a mainstream film taking about brushing relations and understanding family in different situations part of our life making it highly realistic and relatable. In other words, this is not a film stressing only on the brighter side of the relations (esp. father and son). This is a film that ends on a much mature and convincing note than its funny beginning and makes you face the harsh realisms of life wherein things do go horribly unsaid leading to more serious complexities.
In the technical department Ventilator has neat cinematography and apt musical score enhancing the emotional drama. But I did feel the editing in bringing in everything together without allowing any breathing space. Director of Ferrari Ki Sawarri Rajesh Mapuskar showcases considerable growth from this first film and handles emotional climax sequences quite promisingly.
On the whole, using the family gathering at hospital as a platform provides the film ample opportunity to address many issues – differences in family, casual grudges, about riches, generation gap, religion, and even pollution. The film is decently balanced by the superb performance of Jitendra Joshi on the front and wholly realized characterization by Satish Alekar on the other end. In many ways it is the relation between father and son that makes the film emotional and engaging. There are fine lessons to be heard in this film and the telling of the story is very satisfying watch.