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Dharmaveer

Dharmaveer Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5

Dharmaveer Movie Review : Prasad Oak brings Anand Dighe to life in this glorified biopic

Biopics are a tricky zone. Presenting both sides of the coin without a filter can draw ire from followers, while justifying each action through a cleansing lens can invite accusations of glorification from viewers/ critics. Often, filmmakers take the latter route for reasons best known to them. Dharmaveer does the same by portraying the late Anand Dighe, aka Dharmaveer, as a larger-than-life messiah for thousands, especially the people of Thane, his stronghold.

Those who were close to Dighe, a leader who commanded massive respect and popularity among the masses, call him nothing short of a god-like figure who went out of his way to help people and deliver justice by whatever means he deemed fit. Close associates of the late leader include Shiv Sena leaders like Eknath Shinde, Rajan Vichare and Ravindra Phatak, whose reel recreations are also part of the film. For those who know Dighe or his work, this film may bring a whiff of nostalgia and affection. For others, Dharmaveer tells the tale of the political leader through the eyes of people close to him. And those eyes see Dighe as a once-in-a-lifetime leader who devoted his life to working for people. This belief is summed up in one line of the film- ‘All political leaders are not the same. Some are Anand Dighe’.

Director Pravin Tarde manages to hold your attention throughout the three-hour-long film. Tarde explores the man through different stories and incidents about him ranging from chest-swelling pride to situational humour. Starting in current-day Thane with an auto-driver (Gashmeer Mahajani) asking a reporter (Shruti Marathe), who doubts the genuineness of his claims about Dighe, to know more about the leader from the people he helped. From there, Tarde uses flashback to recount these instances, weaving them into a web of proof to back the auto-driver’s claims.

The makers make no bones about where the loyalty of the film lies. Their focus on making Dighe the larger-than-life hero onscreen is unwavering. Also unwavering is lead actor Prasad Oak’s dedication in portraying the role. Oak, who returns to a prominent acting role after quite some time, delivers what is arguably his best performance in recent times. As Dighe, he gets under the skin of the character to make an impact. Without him nailing the role, Dharmaveer would not have commanded as much attention from the viewer as it does. Kshitish Date as Eknath Shinde is another actor to watch out for. Though brief, his performance stays with you.

As a film, Dharmaveer has the impact that a Rohit Shetty film would have on you. You may not subscribe to the thought process or portrayal, but you stay back for the masala. Ultimately, Dharmaveer is more of a tribute to a ‘people’s hero’ than a biopic of a political leader.

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