Producer: Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan
Direction: Dr. Jabbar Patel
Cast: Ashok Lokhande, Om Bhutkar, Vaishali Dabhade, Meena Naik, Supriya Vinod, Rekha Kamat, Satish Alekar, Rahul Solapurkar, Benjamin Gilani.
By Sunil Nandgaonkar
Film-makers have begun to explore and experiment with biopics of eminent personalities among other interesting genres. Dr. Jabbar Patel, who had earlier made a biopic on Dalit leader, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, is back and this time, the renowned director has tried to present many facets of Yashwantrao Chavan in the film titled Yashwantrao Chavan : Bakhar Eka Vadalachi. Remembered as the legendary iron man of Maharashtra, Chavan who was heading the state of Maharashtra, was invited by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Delhi to become part of the Central cabinet. He was the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra after the division of Bombay State and the fifth Deputy Prime Minister of India.
Tracing his life from the young days in a village in Maharashtra, the film captures Yashwantrao Chavan’s journey to becoming a freedom fighter in Chale Jao agitation, his arrest and incarceration, political career in the state as well as in New Delhi, his vast knowledge and varied interests ranging from agriculture to culture. It shows his emergence as one of Maharashtra’s powerful political leaders who worked closely with Nehru, and then served as the Defence Minister, his family life, troubled times during the Samyukta Maharashtra movement and the subsequent formation of Maharashtra State etc.
The director has tried to present a collage of all the aspects one would know about Yashwantrao Chavan. But the presentation makes the film look like a documentary. It starts with Nana Patekar as the sutradhar along with a folk poet who narrates the life and times of Chavan in a povada (folk poetic) form. Yashwantrao Chavan’s story unfolds with stock shots in black and white with Ashok Lokhande playing the title role. While Chavan’s meeting with Nehru (Benjamin Gilani), Indira Gandhi (Supriya Vinod) and other leaders bring in a feel of the bygone era, the film dwindles into documentary and narrative story on the background. This tends to get distractive.
Music has been used extensively to underline Chavan’s love for Marathi literature, films, plays and poetry. As a result, the director fails to focus much on the leader’s political and social greatness, especially his contribution to the creation of the modern Maharashtra State. Many songs engage the viewers in nostalgia thus restricting an overall perspective of the personality. The films fares well on music, VFX, and other technical aspects. Though, it is definitely worth a watch, one could come away with the feeling of having sat through a good documentary rather than a feature film on YB Chavan’s life.