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Dombivli Fast (2005)

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director:-Nishikant Kamat


Sandeep Kulkarni ... Madhav Apte
Shashank Bawkar ... deepak Shettye
Srushti Bhoske ... Prachi Apte
Dushyant Wagh ... Rahul Apte
A lower-middle age house in the Mumbai Suburb of Dombivli, an alarm rings in the morning, the household goes into a frenzy of activities where the man of the house, Madhav Shreedhar Apte gets ready for work, goes to work travelling in the Mumbai Locals, works and then comes back in the evening, feeds his young daughter and then goes to sleep. The next morning the same routine starts again, and the next morning.
The Marathi movie “Dombivli Fast” (DF)starts with the above routine scene about a middle class home but ends with the most under-rated climax of all, simple yet hard-hitting.
Madhav Apte is a common man with strong principles. He has strong values and he does not believe in bending any rules for anybody, even when the future of his children is involved. He fights with people around when he sees injustice and corruption, which include his colleagues, his boss, the shop keepers, man who delivers water in a water tanker, school principal and even his wife. His principals and his behavior is a cause of fights between his wife and him. She is tired of only preaching of changing the world but not doing anything about it.
He is pushed to a corner by everybody who finds his policy of righted ness too difficult to handle and one day he snaps. He goes on a rampage trying to do right, everything that goes against his principal and then starts a mayhem on the street of Mumbai, ultimately ending in a tragic climax.
The story is very similar to Michael Douglas’s starrer “Falling Down” but DF stands out because of good acting and brilliant direction. There are many characters in the movie but the three main characters are Madhav Apte, His wife and a police Inspector.
Madhav Apte who is frustrated by the system and the people around. His wife. Alka who is initially frustrated by her husband’s behavior toward the system and is ready to change to fit into the world and later when she is worried about her husband being shot by the police. The Police Inspector, Subhas Anasphure who is again frustrated by the system but understands that he is the system. The story moves forward through the eyes of these three characters where each reflects and questions their own belief and principles.
Madhav Apte tries to do whatever he sees wrong but is surprised to see that the very people he tries to help are the people who are pulling him down. A telling scene is when he tries to help an old couple in a hospital and to his horror finds that the couple do not approve of his threatening ways even though he is right.
The police meanwhile are clueless and try to stop his rampage. The rest of the story is how Madhav Apte meets his end and in turn trying to correct everything that is wrong with the world.
Directed by Nishikant Kamat makes his directorial debut with this movie. He is the same person who wrote the screenplay for Neha Dupia’s skin flick “Julie”. He handles the thriller very well. The directors excels in the movie. He also has written the screenplay for the movie. He is also directing Madhavan in the Tamil flick “Evano Oruvan” which is a remake of Dombivli Fast set in Chennai. Nishikant Kamat made TV serials before he directed films.
Shilpa Tulaskar plays Alka Apte, Madhav Apte’s wife. She is a veteran of Marathi Movies and has acted in many Marathi movies and serials and plays. She gives a good performance of a frustrated wife. The transformation into a scared woman whose husband is on a rampage is also worth watching, Madhav Apte is the main protagonist of the film but Alka is the one who entices him to go on a rampage. She had to really be the nagging wife and she does excel in that.
Sandesh Jadhav is the Police inspector Subas Anasphure who is after Madhav Apte. I haven’t seen him in any movie and it seems he was very active on the Marathi theatre scene. He has a deep voice which commands authority and is so perfect in the role. He understands that whatever Madhav Apte is doing is the correct action but illegal and is tied to the system. He does not want to make Madhav Apte a martyr but hopes that people do make him one. Sandesh Jadhav has played his part very well.
Finally coming to the main character, Madhav Apte, played by Sandeep Kulkarni. I really had to find who Sandeep Kulkarni was before watching the movie and there is no info available about him on the internet. Sandeep Kulkarni has acted in quite a number of plays, serials and movies. He had played a doctor in “Shwaas” Here he plays the frustrated Madhav Apte who is strong on his principles but his friends, family and colleague always want to deter him from the path. Looking at the movie, it is difficult to imagine any other actor in Marathi cinema who could have done the same role. Watch him talking to the deaf and dumb boy on the footpath venting out his frustration. It was brilliant.
Dombivli Fast can be described as a sober version of Sunny Deol’s “Ghayal” without the happy ending and Sunny Deol’s he-manism. One is forced to look at himself after seeing the movie. It does not dwell into stuff like country and love for the country which normally happens in most of these movies but at the very structure of morality on which any society is based. Madhav Apte, his wife or the inspector looks at morality in their own way and according to their convenience,
The inspector also accepts bribe and is not shown as a righteous one. When he asks his wife would she had managed to run the house on his salary, she answers a flat “No”. They both know that it is wrong but carry on for luxuries rather than basic survival.
The politicians, the shopkeeper, the school principal wants to earn more not for survival but for the luxuries of life.
The most telling scene of the movie which summarizes the whole movie is the climax when Madhav Apte is shot in the train. An injured Madhav Apte asks the Inspector
Ayushya gela ithe Chaavtya seat var basun, jara khidki var basu?
(Whole Life I spent on the fourth seat, can i seat on the window seat for sometime. )
Those few words of Madhav Apte tells the story of middle class Indian. What each Indian has is what he terms the fourth seat, means to just scrap through life. What he desires is the Windows seat, a chance to live a better life without compromising on their principle. The movie forces you to reflect back on us and as the inspector said to look hard at our self in the mirror to answer a simple question

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