Movie Review: Lalbaug Parel-Mills to Malls: A Journey That Was

Posted on April 15, 2010 in Culture-Vulture

Nilesh Raje:

Mumbai, the second most densely populated city in the world is popularly known as the City of Opportunities and Success Stories. A city for dreams and dream merchants. A city where everything is possible; fast money, fast life, fast break-offs and even faster running hours of life. Dar Motion Pictures working in synergy with leading director Mahesh Manjrekar have captivated the heart of audiences across Maharashtra in their recently released Marathi film ‘Lalbaug Parel’.

Thirty years ago the mills in Mumbai held the reputation for actively contributing towards Mumbai’s financial revenue. However, today these same mills have been replaced with aristocratic malls and multiplexes across the city. The script showcases the transition of mills to malls, as witnessed in our very own financial capital, Mumbai. The plot revolves around the story of a mill workers family (Dhuri’s) who struggles when the karta of the house Anna (Shashank Shende) loses his job as mill worker leaving the whole clan under severe mental turmoil.

Anna’s wife (Seema Biswas) acts as a mediator by giving her best support and prompt attention to every member of the household by ensuring that no one disturbs their happy home. The eldest son of the family Baba (Ankush Choudhary) is a writer struggling to create his own identity with the power of words. Deep down in the line, it is evident that Baba is really concerned about the well being of the whole family. Mohan (Vinit Kumar), the second eldest of the family seems to be more passionate about the game of cricket. Naru (Karan Patel), the third eldest holds the reputation for being the bhai of his neighborhood while the youngest of the family Manju (Veena Jamkar), is determined to lead a better lifestyle to support her as well as the family by working in the beauty parlor.

The movie clearly depicts that money is not everything but money can make everything. Money can speak all languages and can cross all barriers. It’s not the money but the lack of money that serves as the root of all evil for members of mills workers and the family staying in “Laxmi Cottage”. The movie shows how poverty provokes a woman to sleep with other men to support their family and how the men venture into the world of crime for the lure of money.

In an attempt to have his sister Manju get married to a decent family, Naru Dhuri goes to the extent of committing murder in exchange of money. When all is lost in the battles of life, the only ray of hope the mill workers have is from their union leaders which includes Arvind Rane (Sachin Khedekar), Govind (Vinay Apte) and Dr. Abba Sawant (Vaibhav Mangle). Instead of getting solace from their leaders in these turbulent times, it is seen that in reality destiny turns out to be cruel leaving both the union leaders as well as the mill workers totally despondent and marked by low spirits. The nexus between the mill owners and politicians is rightly depicted in the movie. The key focus throughout the movie revolves around the Dhuri family, Naru and Speedbraker (Siddharth Jadhav).

Both, Jayant Pawar and Mahesh Manjrekar have been instrumental in keeping the audience involved all the way to the end by showcasing the children’s of the mill workers family from real-life in this movie. Good work by the whole team for portraying the bitter reality witnessed during the 1982 mill workers strike in the big bad city of Mumbai.

The strong script of “Lalbaug Parel” is indeed a testimony to the notion that the common masses are bound to be affected on this journey from mills to malls, which indeed is a voyage of discovery. It is bound to set the people thinking “Is life always fair in the end?” Well, the audience should get the better answer only after they watch the movie.

Crew:

Director (Mahesh Manjrekar), Producer (Arun Rangachari), Story ( Jayant Pawar), Assistant Director (Ganesh Modak), Director of Photography (Ajit Reddy), Action Director (Pradyuman), Editor (Sarvesh Parab), Dialogues (Jayant Pawar and Abhijit Deshpande), Music Director (Ajit Sameer) Art Director (Prashant Rane).

The writer is a Mumbai based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz

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