Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5
Chandramukhi Movie Review : A decent love story which could have been a better political drama
Chandramukhi is based on Vishwas Patil’s novel, the rights to which took quite a long time to come to the film’s team. Those familiar with the book or the film’s trailer have an idea about the story. For those living under a rock, this film is a story of forbidden love and its repercussions. Daulat Deshmane, a sincere politician with a bright future, is on the verge of becoming India’s next minister of commerce and industry. However, it just takes one photo to ruin the chances of his ascension to the post. A photo of him and Chandramukhi, a tamasha dancer, who the happily married Daulat has fallen in love with. A flashback opens Pandora’s Box, and the viewer is introduced to Chandra and Daulat’s story. Right from a reluctant meeting to both getting seriously involved with each other, each aspect of the story is explored in detail. But what happens when this affair becomes public knowledge? What effect does it have on the lives of the lovers and their close ones?
An adaptation of a story that originally runs over 300 pages of text is not an easy task, but screenwriter Chinmay Mandlekar manages to capture the essence of the story. However, the final product can be clearly divided into two parts- a painfully slow pre-interval part, and a better post-interval part. Prasad Oak takes ample time to introduce his leads and establish their relationship, and he does this with scenes that just add to the running time, sans much impact. Transitions between some scenes are abrupt and make you wonder why. Then there are the special effects that lack finesse. But it is not all bad. The film manages to recover with an almost slick political drama unfolding in the second half. There are interesting plots, twists, and a much sharper execution here than the love story of the first half.
The film is Amruta Khanvilkar’s first ‘in and as’ performance and she has pumped sweat and blood into this role. She has undergone physical transformation to suit the role of a tamasha dancer and worked on getting the specific dialect right too. A little more rawness in the body language and dance moves would have made her portrayal completely impactful. That said, it is a sincere and committed performance from Amruta. Addinath fits the part and channels the ‘macho persona with a heart of gold’ character well. He slips in a few scenes that require him to channel the angst of the character, but it’s a measured performance overall. Apart from the leads, there are two other characters that stand out in this ensemble cast- Nana Jondhale (Rajendra Shirsatkar) and Battasha (Samir Choughule). Rajendra, a seasoned actor often seen as a police officer onscreen, is so good that you get angry at his character, and that’s a win for the actor. Samir, known for his comic timing otherwise, delivers an impactful performance, making you feel the helplessness of the character. Mrunmayee Deshpande’s portrayal of Dolly is layered and could’ve been explored more.
To cut a long story short, Chandramukhi is a decent watch. With crisper editing, it could’ve been even better. A special mention to Ajay-Atul’s music that adds the required rustic touch to the songs and elevates the experience.