Writer-director: Mrinal Kulkarni
Dialogues: Manasvini Lata Ravindra and Digpal Lanjekar
Lyrics: Sudhir Moghe and Vaibhav Joshi
Music: Anand Modak
Cast: Newfinds Alok Rajwade and Parna Pethe along with Ravindra Mankani, Mrinal Kulkarni, Prasad Oak, Sonalee Kulkarni, Dr. Amol Kolhe, Shruti Marathe and child artiste Shruti Karlekar with Aditi Rao Hydari in a guest appearance
Indian history has heard of several romances of bygone era, be it Jodha-Akbar, Salim-Anarkali and so on. But one has not heard much about the affectionate bond that Rama and Madhav shared. Their silent love story unfolds during the Peshwas who ruled during the 18th century India. There have also been books, films and even television serials on the Peshwas, but none that threw light on the romance that brewed between Rama and Madhav.
Over two decades back, TV introduced us to Mrinal Kulkarni, a petite actress who played Rama effortlessly in the serial Swami to Ravindra Mankani’s Madhav. That serial developed the political story in the times of the Peshwas while the film Rama Madhav is a love story set amidst the turbulent political scenario that existed during the Peshwa era.
Nanasaheb Peshwa, a humble ruler of Pune has the support of his cousin Sadashivrao Bhau but not of his own brother Raghobadada who wants to take over the throne. Nanasaheb’s son Madhav, a teenager, is married to Rama, an eight-year old who wins the hearts of everyone in her saasurwadi, including that of her father-in-law Nanasaheb with her innocence. Madhav too is smitten by the little girl. When Peshwas lose a war, Nanasaheb is heart-broken and falls ill and eventually dies. Young Madhavrao becomes his successor. After years of fighting the battle and winning many territories, Madhavrao returns home. To his surprise, Rama is now a young and beautiful girl. He falls in love with her and thus begins their love story.
For her second directorial venture, Mrinal has made a good film and has done a perfect job as a director. It needs courage to handle a film of this magnitude and grandeur. Mrinal and Mankani bring back the chemistry of Swami though they play Nanasaheb Peshwa and Gopikabai, parents of Madhav. Prasad Oak as Raghobadada exudes the perfect angst and hatred towards the system and as Parvatibai, Shruti Marathe brings out the perfect pathos as a woman waiting for her dead husband to return from war. Sonalee Kulkarni as Anandibai and Amol Kolhe as Sadashivrao Bhau are good in their characters. The role of Madhav is played by newcomer Alok Rajwade who is excellent as the teenager as well as the ruling Peshwa and the loving husband of Rama. His expressions bring out the right emotions. Parna Pethe, a debutant, looks slightly out of place in her role of Rama who commits Sati at a young age after her husband dies due to tuberculosis. Child artist Shruti Karlekar is excellent as junior Rama. Each main actor stands out with their brilliant performances.
The dialect in the film suit the time frame and Lata Ravindra and Digpal Ranjekar have done a good job with the dialogues. The lyrics by the eminent poet late Sudhir Moghe and Vaibhav Joshi and music by late Anand Modak are soothing to the ear. A lot of research and hard work seemed to have gone into designing the exquisite and authentic sets by Nitin Chandrakant Desai. He has spruced up and made Pune’s famous 1746-built Shanivarwada look as good as new. Poornima Oak has done a perfect job with elegant costumes of the era and so has the make-up artist Vinay Suryavanshi. The battle of Panipat has been well executed by action director Ravi Diwan while Saroj Khan has choreographed the mujra on Aditi Rao Hydari. Editing by Jayant Jatthar and spectacular cinematography by Rajeev Jain needs a special mention. However while the first half is interesting and gripping, the second half gets slow and thus loses its pace. Having said that, lovers of history of Maharashtra may identify with the film which is worth a watch.