Producer : Umesh Rao and Sonali Manjrekar
Director : Santosh Manjrekar
Cast : Vaibbhav Tatwawdi, Mrunal Thakur, Dr. Shriram Patki, Sharad Ponkshe, Madhav Abhyankar, Ravi Sangavai, Pournima Manhohar, Reena Sule, Nandkumar Patil, Vinayak Bhave, Shahaji Kale
By Sunil Nandgaonkar
With elections just round the corner, many movies that have hit the screens lately, in various languages, have dealt with politics and conveying the importance of using one’s voting rights and other similar issues.
The just-released Marathi film Surajya too deals with such issues, the unrest in the system and misuse of funds by religious organisations. Since the subject itself is very strong, kudos to director Santosh Manjrekar for making a very sharp film and raising pertinent issues.
The story revolves around Omkar (Vaibhav Tatwawdi) whose parents live in Sawantwadi. They are staunch followers of Sudarshan Swami, the godly saint of a religious community. Young Omkar does believe in God but he is not a follower of the Swami. His father (Sharad Ponkshe) calls him from Mumbai to attend the palkhi (palanquin) procession at the Sudarshan Swami muth (temple). Though reluctant, he obeys his father and joins the procession. However, during his stay at his hometown, he gradually comes across some unlawful activities taking place in the mutt. Omkar also learns that though the muth has a good contribution of money through donations by the wealthy villagers, the villages around the vicinity do not have any medical facilities. He notices that while the mutt, gets all that it demands, the basic public facilities are lacking and the villagers are suffering.
Omkar along with his girlfriend Dr. Swapna (Mrunal Thakur) and friend Vishnu Swami (Dr. Shriram Patki) fights with the wealthy and greedy Swamis of the muth, in an attempt to bring some good facilities for the public.
Manjrekar has made a very straight film, directly dealing with the subject in a sharp way. However, more hard-hitting incidences should have been added in the film to convince the audience about the seriousness of the issues that were being handled.
Cinematography by Vikram Amladi, music by Pankaj Padghan and the sound design make an impact. New finds Vaibhav Tatwawdi and Mrunal Thakur are promising while all the senior artists too have done a good job. The film ends with an insight to how certain big and rich religious organisations function (or is it malfunction).