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Zollywood Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5

Zollywood Movie Review : An unconventional film about a lesser known theatre form

Away from the commercial and experimental theatre of Pune and Mumbai, nestled in the villages of the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is an artform that not many are familiar with, unfortunately. Zhadipatti theatre, or just zhadipatti, has been a source of entertainment for the farmers of Vidarbha for quite a while now and with Zollywood, filmmaker Trushant Ingle brings the story of the production houses, or ‘presses’, and its artistes to the big screen. It’s safe to say that what Malegaon’s film industry was to that region, zhadipatti is to Vidarbha.

The film, presented by Newton director Amit V Masurkar, takes a non-conventional approach to present its story, which predominantly revolves around Aman, Raja, Dipak and Narayanrao. Narayanrao is a doyen of zhadipatti, an actor who is respected for his performances and his commitment to the theatre form. Aman runs a press, which is a production house for zhadipatti plays, and all that he cares about is money in his pocket. Raja, a former employee of Aman’s, decides to start his own press and poaches all of Aman’s performers. What starts off well for Raja, soon goes downhill after he’s smitten by one of his performers. Dipak, described as an upcoming star of zhadipatti, is a sensible writer who believes in keeping the essence of the artform intact. For that, he starts his own press and does exceedingly well. In between all this, we are introduced to the trials and tribulations of the artistes.

The biggest difference between this film and others based in Vidarbha is that Zollywood doesn’t fixate on droughts or farmer suicides and rather presents a very different side of the region which is interesting and informative. While doing this, Trushant ensures that the rawness of the film is intact, and this adds to the feel of the film in ways that a polished portrayal wouldn’t. Having had a tryst with zhadipatti, Trushant makes sure to get the nuances right. The actors, again mostly from the theatre form, do justice to their characters. Among the lot, Ajit Khobragade as Dipak, Dinkar Gawande as Narayanrao, Kajal Rangari as Raja and Asawari Naidu as Rajni stand out as performers.

Zollywood isn’t your typical entertainer, but a story that needs to be seen exactly for what it is. It has its flaws, but for a first-time maker, this is a winner. And for the audience, the film offers a break from period films and love stories. Unfortunately, with its limited release, it may not reach as many people as it should. But those of you who love unconventional cinema, do watch this one.

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