Movie Review : Deool : Commercializing faith.

Ever since I have watched the poignant and touching ‘Shwas’ which was a Marathi movie about a boy and how he deals with his impending blindness, my perception of Marathi cinema has changed. My view of Marathi movies being made with a lot more heart and soul has subsequently been supported by some gems like ‘Kadachit’, ‘Valu’, ‘Rita’, ‘Zenda’,’Taryanchi Baet‘ to name a few.

I went to watch Deool with huge expectations because

1) It is made by the same person who made the endearing ‘Valu’

2) It is made on a very real subject

When the movie ended, I did not feel like leaving my seat. The following is a summation of my thoughts about this wonderful movie –

Based on the theme of ‘commercialization of religion and faith’, Deool deals with a very complex issue, one that is found in every corner of modern Indian society. A fictional village called Mangrul provides the backdrop for this story. Mangrul is a dainty town with no hospitals, no good roads, no theaters and no modern amenities. The youth in the village get drunk but have little avenues of entertainment or profession. Almost all of them want a job in the city, but then there is Keshav. Keshav (Girish Kulkarni) is a cowherd who is content with his simple life, a far cry from what the other people his age would like or want.

One day, as he goes to sleep beneath a tree after spotting his cow, he gets a vision that Lord Datta is in front of his eyes.. in the form of the tree. He cannot control his emotions and tells everyone in his small village that he has just seen God.. no one in the village takes him seriously and a wise man in the village, Anna (Dilip Prabhavalkar) tells him that people may or may not believe him and he must keep such things to himself.

What follows is how the politician from the village(Nana Patekar) along with his nephew and the youth of the village take up this issue of ‘God’ being present in their village and how they commercialize the concept of God by building a temple and transforming the village into something else overnight. Because of the flux of pilgrims visiting the temple, the village loses it’s soul and everyone changes for the worse. The film essentially deals with how religion and faith are manipulated by people around us to turn it into a money-spinning industry. How the essence of faith is being eroded because of the glamour of money.

The film has delightful performances by the entire cast but a special mention for Girish Kulkarni who excels as Kesha. It is to his credit that he has managed to portray such a gamut of expressions with such ease. Lending him excellent support are Nana Patekar, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Sonali Kulkarni, Kishor Kadam and Mohan Agashe. The only problem one may have with the film is that it drags towards the end and could have been trimmed to cut it’s length by atleast 10 minutes. Also, the ‘welcome’ song seems redundant in the backsight but perhaps it was required to show just how corrupt people can be because of the lure of money and power.

With it’s light narrative and realistic dialogues, Deool will make you laugh and tug at your heart-strings. It will make you connect and relate to a lot of things on the personal level. And by the time the movie ends, I am sure you will see your faith in God in a new light..

Kudos to the director Umesh Kulkarni for another beautiful film and more power to Marathi cinema.