Natsamrat is Nana Patekar's Crowning Achievement and an Ode to Acting!
Brain-o-meter Rating: 9/10
Natsamrat - Asa Nat Hone Nahi is one movie which all cineastes should see, for obvious reasons. It is a dramatic film, filled with humour, pathos, tragedy and a whole circle of emotions in one single narrative. Based on a famous play by legendary Shirwadkar that was essayed by Marathi stage actors, most notably Shriram Lagoo in the lead role, director Mahesh Manjrekar keeps the long monologues intact although some of them are in the form of dialogues for the sake of the film.
Natsamrat is the story of a retired stage actor who is known as the king of the stage for his performances. In the manner of Baghban's story, Nana and his wife played by an understated Medha Manjrekar start depending on their children and tensions start rising. Nana's ebullient character and stage persona does not leave him which creates a rift in the family. Vikram Gokhale's story runs parallel to Nana's story and both the veterans are their best when exchanging fiery dialogues. The best part of the film is when Vikram assumes the role of Karna while Nana takes up the role of Krishna in the hospital. The sparkling dialogues and heart-rending pathos created in that scene and such similar scenes is sure to create a huge lump in one's throat and even let emotions flow on your cheeks. It is powerful stuff, really.
The ensemble cast is okay, but the lead pair of Nana and Medha, Mrunmayee Deshpande as his daughter and Vikram Gokhale as his friend deserve plaudits for their great acting and heartfelt performances. Kudos to the writing that references Shakespeare's To Be or not to Be with a sly nod to a Streetcar Named Desire to the works of some eminent Marathi playwrights. The monologues are long and lengthy but Nana delivers them with such conviction that it is impossible to not to pay attention.
The music is few and far between but the rousing background score is ok in parts while mediocre in some other sequences. The melodramatic bits are high-strung too, and threaten to steer the film away into mediocrity in 1-2 scenes but Nana and the actors lend their weight to make this flick believable and in turn, much more memorable than the manipulative Baghban.
Make this a must watch, since Asa Nat Hone Nahi (such an act will not come again)