Kaagar: Review, Cast, Director

Cast: Rinku Rajguru, Shashank Shende, Shubhankar Tawde, Suhas Palshikar, Shantanu Gangane,Vitthal Kale, Mahesh Bhosale

Director: Makarand Mane

Rating: * * *

Breakout star Rinku Rajguru’s return to the big screen after her box-office busting debut film ‘Sairaat’ may not live up to all expectations but this, her second film, is a rather well knit romantic tragedy skewered by political machinations.

This film is basically ‘Romeo and Juliet’ married to ‘Rajneeti’ – in which the teenager takes on a challenging role as Priyadarshini Deshmukh aka Rani from a prominent well respected political family, pursuing a college degree in social work – whose personal belief systems of social emancipation and romance gets challenged by her father, political Kingmaker Prabhakarao Deshmukh aka Guruji’s (Shashank Shende) underhand attempts to hurtle her into a more decisive role in State politics. Will she get corrupted by the sudden turn of fortunes or will she hold true to her ideals, is a question that haunts the narrative thereafter.

The film is set in Virainagar, a part of the sugar belt and has characters representing political bigwigs who control the sugar co-operatives in that area. The conflicts involve privatisation of a sugar factory, the effect it has on the livelihoods of the sugar cane farmers who look to Rani’s love, Yuvraj (Shubhankar Tawde), a software engineer turned political worker – a hothead grappling with vengeful thoughts towards his father’s murderer, to speak for them in times of crisis, as well as wily attempts by the local chanakya/ Guruji, to keep himself relevant in the topsy-turvy world of state politics.

The undercurrent of nastiness in realpolitik and the clash of ideals, is portrayed grittily through the spectrum of Yuvraj’s exploits as a romantic hero cum political hoodlum who gets caught up in the fight for political one-upmanship between the Guruji and his former disciple Abasaheb (Suhas Palshikar). Both Yuvraj and Rani are portrayed as pawns in the political intrigue masterminded by Rani’s father – while one succumbs to hyper emotion and pays the price, the other, adapts to the challenges without losing out on her innate sensibilities and goodness.

Director Makarand Mane (of National Award winning ‘Ringan’ fame) sets a blistering pace in the pre-interval half with constant dramatic twists and turns in the plotting, but the second half comes undone because the hasty, underdeveloped and unsubstantiated denouement, though surprising, doesn’t ring true. Even so, this film works, to a large extent, because of the stirring performances from the many actors that populate it. Rinku Rajguru continues to hold sway with her magnetic presence and honourable entreaty, Shubhankar Tawde lends strong essence to Yuvraj’s conflicts, Shashank Shende does wily to perfection while Suhas Palshikar lends Abasaheb both arrogance and entitlement which comes undone when faced with treachery from a quarter least expected.

The topic may not be unique but the treatment does have affect, coming as it does at a time when elections are underway. It’ s quite likely that the audience will identify with the political machinations enshrined in this quasi-political-romantic thriller and that’s basically the key to a largely satisfying outing at the cinemas!

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