‘Shantit Kranti,' a Marathi series (subtitled in English) is almost an open tribute to the cult “Dil Chahta Hai”—it is about three friends who have been childhood buddies who, a la “DCH” as they refer to the movie they adore, plan a trip to Goa to just chill and run away from their issues. Meanwhile, a pile-on fourth friend decides not to be with them as he has seen the light, so to speak, after a week at Shantivan, an eco-retreat where you do all the right things in food and lifestyle and come back improved and tough enough to solve your problems. His liquor addiction has vanished, he says.
Shreyas (Abhay Mahajan, on whose concept also the show is based), Dinar (Ajay Rajwade) and Prasanna a.k.a. Pashya (Lalit Prabhakar) all have their own issues in life: Shreyas’ 8-year relationship is over when fiancee Rupali (Sakhi Gokhale) breaks off their engagement, stating that he has not matured at all. Prasanna is happily married and is a swimming coach aspiring to Olympic levels, but is short of funds. And now he comes to know that he is going to become a father, though wife Nishi (Mrinmayee Godbole) is willing to let go of the unborn baby for his dreams. And Dinar, who drinks quite a bit, is anguished by the fact that he is becoming like his drunkard dad (Jitendra Joshi)!
Shreya’ car is their vehicle to Goa, but only he knows that his destination is actually Shantivan. He promises the reluctant buddies that they will spend only 24 hours at the retreat before they head Goa-wards, but one by one, things happen in such a way that they end up spending a week there, sort out their problems positively, and do not want to leave from there.
The constant references and comparisons to the actors, characters and whatever happened in “DCH” are amusing and very relevant, and the only point we are sore about is the excessive (and mostly needless) use of the “F” word and other expletives. Youth mixed with no censorship=no self-censorship too, we guess!
The motley crowd at the therapeutic retreat is also quite interesting. They are led by Neha (Shikha Talsania), who runs the show, Paula (Paula McGlynn), a foreigner who knows a sprinkling of Marathi, Chotu, the general help (Ninad Gore), a widow (Suhita Thatte) with a back-story that is revealed midway, the mysterious in a way Shankar (Vijay Nikam), the bejeweled politician (Sagar Yadav) and Dhumal Kaka (Dhananjay Sardeshpande).
The three friends’ interplay with them all, especially with the widow and Shankar, Chotu and Dhumal Kaka, leads to them encountering, within themselves, a self-realization and also learning so much about life. Adding to this are their internal frictions generated there and their acceptance of truths that are staring them in their faces.
The series is a neat and humorous take on how human beings are themselves responsible for most traumas and issues in their lives, and also is a kind of (late) coming-of-age story of three men who also are absolute buddies since childhood but later let life’s problems even pollute their pure and innocent childhood friendship.
High on performances, with most dialogues (English subtitles here are generally better than the norm, with very few errors!) being to the point, trenchant and witty too, the series is marked by skilled direction and evocative music by Suhas Bhalerao.
The three protagonists are superb, Abhay Mahajan stealing a very slight march over Ajay Rajwade and Lalit Prabhakar. Suhita Thatte and Vijay Nikam are outstanding, while Ninad Gore, though good, reminds us unfortunately of Rajpal Yadav generally. Paula McGlynn is fabulous whenever on screen, as are Dhananjay Sardeshpande and the actor who plays the bejeweled politician. Sakhi Gokhale and Shikha Talsania too are excellent as Rupali and Neha respectively. And the three kids who play the heroes’ childhood roles are delightful naturals, and the direction shines most in their few scenes!
An easy watch with many things to take away, this six-episode saga is definitely a crisp adventure that proves how a new original can come out of a cult film’s inspiration—if there is a committed-to-originality team behind it.
Produced by: Arunabh Kumar
Directed by: Sarang Sathaye & Paula McGlynnWritten by: Chetan Dange, Adwaita Deshmukh, Prachi Hankare, Abhay Mahajan, Anusha Nandakumar, Mrinal Pant, Sarang Sathaye & Paula McGlynn
Music: Saurabh Bhalerao
Starring: Abhay Mahajan, Lalit Prabhakar, Alok Rajwade, Chetan Dange, Paula McGlynn, Dhananjay Sardeshpande, Shikha Talsania, Suhita Thatte, Sagar Yadav, Ninad Gore, Vijay Nikam ,Chaitanya Shivtare, Abhir Upasani, Sachin Godbole, Sakhi Gokhale, Vibhawari Deshpande, Mrinmayee Godbole, Jitendra Joshi, Sunil Abhyankar, Aditya Desai, Devendra Gaikwad, Amey Wagh & others