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Katyar Kaazhzaat Kaljat Ghusali  : A musical treat
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Friday, November 27, 2015
Subodh Bhave
Shankar Mahadevan, Sachin Pilgaonkar

From Marathi theatre, an old classic is transferred to celluloid. Ghei chhand makarand, ghei chhand makarand, and many such classical gems embellish this period film. A musical drama, the conflict between two gharanas and the guru-shishya tradition gets an outing against a backdrop of royal patronage.


Immensely gifted Pandit Bhanu Shankar Shastri is anointed the darbar’s best musician year after year until Khansaheb from another gharana aspires to the post. Taunted by his wife about their poverty-stricken existence, Khansaheb finally has his big day in court when Shashtriji is unable to sing. And Khansaheb deposes him as court musician, moving into a huge haveli with all the trappings that come with the office. With this also comes a dagger, a katyar, which carries the king’s promise that one murder committed with it will be pardoned. 


Years later, when Shashtriji’s disciple Sadashiv comes looking for his guru to complete his training under him, the past unfolds. Jealousy and treachery had prevailed over music and spirituality, leading to Shashtriji’s exit from the court. The spiritually-inclined Shastriji has accepted his ignonimity as God’s will but Khansaheb’s arrogance has grown. It rears its head again when young Sadashiv poses a challenge to the reigning musician of the land. And the dagger that was symbolic of killing arrogance and ego is picked up for literal use by Khansaheb.


At 162 minutes, the film directed by Subodh Bhave requires great patience to sit through. But the reward is a film studded with wonderful music. Shankar-Ehsan-Loy and Jitendra Abhisheki share the credit for it. It’s interesting to watch Shankar Mahadevan make his debut as actor in the lead role of gentle Shankar Shastri but it’s versatile Sachin Pilgaonkar who essays the many moods of Khansaheb. Sakshi Tanwar or Parvati Bhabhi as the TV audience knows her, is a surprise as Khansaheb’s cunning wife. Director Subodh Bhave slips easily into the role of Sadashiv.


One downside is that Khansaheb and Shashtriji are too starkly black and white for a major part of the film. On the other hand, Mozart’s life too had a similar storyline when the stakes were so high.


For a film that will delight music lovers, Katyar Kaazhzaat  Kaljat Ghusali gets a 3* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Journalist & Author
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