Katyar Kaljat Ghusali (The dagger pierced the heat)
There are movies and then there are masterpieces. Movies comprise actors.. masterpieces comprise the characters portrayed with perfection. The masterpiece – KKG – is an experience where the central character is music, that too classical music. Moreover, it has many firsts. Shankar Mahadevan’s acting debut, Subodh Bhave’s directorial debut, Sakshi Tanvar’s Marathi film debut and Sachin Pilgaonkar playing a classical singer for the first time! The 4 ‘S’ weave’ an experience of a lifetime, that is well peppered with drama, music, cinematography and dialogues.
Bhave accomplishes the difficult task to recreate the play based on the same name and acted in by stalwarts like Vasantrao Deshpande. The story revolves around the ego and ambitions of Khansaheb (Sachin) to become the king’s musician and is narrated in the form of a feud of 2 schools (gharanas) of music represented by him and Pandit Bhanu Shankar Shastri (Shankar Mahadevan). It has all the elements of entertainment- deceit, greed, revenge and politics on one side while determination, love, devotion and righteousness on the other.
Amruta Khanvilkar, Mrunmayee Deshpande and Pushkar Shrotri dazzle in their supporting roles. Shankar is a treat to watch in his debut, well supported by his classical rendition of the evergreen natyasangeet- Ghei Chand Makarand. He is a true exemplary human being as the Pandit- Gracious in defeat and Generous in victory. Sachin uses every acting muscle that he has perfected in the last 50 years of his career to make you despise his character of Khansaheb. Subodh Bhave (of Balgandharva fame) as Sadashiv makes a late entry but revives the movie with a spellbinding performance.
The music here truly transcends the boundaries of language and culture and you don’t need to understand Marathi to appreciate this movie. Though there are subtitles, they have lot of typos, and are the only flaws in this movie. However, Khansaheb’s dialogues are all in Hindi which is a unique and a suitable experiment. Music is the hero- perfect renditions by Rahul Deshpande, Mahesh Kale and of course Shankar. Classical music lovers will treasure this movie, while the uninitiated like me will come out with a new admiration and passion for this genre of music. Cinematography is par excellence while there are some spell binding scenes- like those of the fireflies reacting to music, the silence after Shankar’s first rendition and Shrotri describing music as a blend of art and science.
Overall the movie definitely does ‘pierce the heart’ with its performances. Reiterating a dialogue by Panditji- The throat is strategically situated at the center point of the brain and the heart because the musician is supposed to use both. As audience, we too appreciate this movie with both!