Review: 'Dambis' is a lovable family film

Friday, 9 December 2011 - 10:07am IST Updated: Friday, 9 December 2011 - 6:43pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Dambis will find its takers in its target group of parents and grandparents. Watch it with your kids, it could be time well-spent.
Film: Dambis [Marathi]
Director: Makarand Anaspure
Cast: Makarand Anaspure, Master Shubhankar Atre, Lokesh Gupte, Pragya Shastri
Rating: **1/2
 
Marathi comedian Makarand Anaspure dons the director’s hat for this breezy comedy with a valuable message. Known for his impeccable comic timing, Makarand takes the liberty of giving himself the meatiest role in this rather preachy caper in which he plays Dattu, a wannabe, struggling actor with no talent to speak of.
 
His life changes when he’s hired to pose as a grandfather to little Parth, whose parents are too busy to play with him and too egoistic to approach their estranged parents. For Parth’s uptight, MBA mother Neelima (Pragya), Rs3,000 a day’s loss is more than even his ill health. Parth has grown to accept his parents’ behaviour. The numpty Dattu teaches Parth some tough lessons, while making his parents realise that all the money they make is worthless to the love-starved Parth. In turn, the generally disregarded Dattu too learns of love by spending time with Parth.
 
Makarand confidently takes upon himself to point out the flaws of the nuclear family system. He even suggests ways to rectify them, but uses the oft-travelled preachy path. The almost two-hour film could be well wrapped up in an hour and 15 minutes without losing its sheen, significance et al. The first half sees Parth pining and whining for a grandparent. Exaggeration could well be Makarand’s middle name as he overdoes everything from emotions to comedy. Admittedly, his buffoon act never fails to
make one laugh, but he’s done the same for far too long now.
 
Cinematically, Dambis (meaning lovable but naughty) is an inopportune attempt at filmmaking. Even though the topic deals with plagues of modern life, painting it on the canvas of cinema in such a way can never be fully justified. It could well be a speech delivered by an influential speaker and would be as effective. Why make an amateurish film that says nothing new?
 
With themes preaching family values, the treatment takes precedence over what’s being preached. Having an idea and shooting a full length feature doesn’t cut the deal. There’s no doubt Dambis tugs at your heartstrings. It seeks to be an eye-opener for parents. If it achieves that objective, Makarand can be a happy man.
 
Shubhankar Atre as Parth steals Makarand’s thunder.  His expressions, dialogue delivery is striking. Lokesh Gupte and Pragya Shastri as Parth’s parents are effective too.
 
Dambis will find its takers in its target group of parents and grandparents. Watch it with your kids, it could be time well-spent.

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