Art is a very influential thing. In its highest form, it has the power to take away something from within you as well as give something back to you. A single form of art, whether it be a 3-hour movie or a play or a symphony, or whatever else it may be, has the ability to present you with a new outlook on life, and even inspire you.
Natsamrat’s plot is simple yet profound and is able to stir up these emotions in you. The reason I say “simple” is because, in a sense, it resonates with the daily life of viewers on many levels. The film is based on feelings that every person has to go through and I’m not saying that the circumstances have to be similar to the character in the movie. However, the mechanism of how human emotions come about is something that everybody shares and is deeply rooted in memories from the past.
Natsamrāt (roughly translated as The King of Theater or The Actor King) is a 2016 Indian Marathi-language drama film starring Nana Patekar in the leading role and is based on a play Natsamrat written by playwright Kusumagraj.
Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, the movie features veteran actor Nana Patekar who plays the role of a renowned theatre actor Ganpat Ramchandra Belwalkar who suffers after bequeathing all of his wealth to his children.
The king of the theatres finds himself trapped in his past ties and wants to be free from the agony of losing himself in the impecuniosity that life threw at him. With his heart wounded, Ganpat carries a deep unresolved pain inside of him and has no way of dealing with it. Despite having enjoyed a prosperous career in theatre and earning fame and fortune, the actor is looking for identity and a place to live in the latter years of his life. What the actor is looking for is not only shelter but also an emotional sanctuary. He needs to have that closure and is desperately looking for a place to finally rest.
The film creates a mystery for Nana’s character right at the beginning and proceeds to shed light on his backstory throughout the film, thus creating anticipation through character traits and conflicts. Ganpat’s unconstrained nature does not go along well with those surrounded by him, especially his own family, who find themselves running into troubles due to his behavior.
Relationships are portrayed insightfully in this movie. The bonds are deep, and hence, the pain of separation is also immense. The deeper bonds and highly cherished relationships that Ganpat shares end up causing him even greater sufferings, as tighter bonds bring with them deeper wounds.
Entrusting his old days to his children has definitely backfired on him. However, sorrow is even more concentrated when it comes to losing his loved ones. The lead character shares the most profound friendship and love, and those relationships of all the other ones come carrying the most heartwarming, and at the same time, tear-jerking dynamic in this movie. Rambhau (played by Vikram Gokhale), his friend, who is a great actor in his own right never enjoyed the success that Ganpat enjoyed. However, there is not a hint of unhealthy antagonism between the two.
Rambhau represents a true friend who’s always been there for Ganpat in his tears and joy and the one who can understand Ganpat’s drive and passion when it comes to theatre. This wholesome friendship between the two is also one of the deeper bonds that Ganpat shares in his life with the other being the one with his wife. The couple exemplifies love and care in its most immaculate form by sharing a friendship extending a long way back.
A Cry For Liberation
The story, although coming across as a simple message on morality, is more so about a cry for liberation from past ties that Ganpat finds himself in, which can only possibly come about from breathing out and letting go. Life brings to him the unwavering truth of mortality not only through deaths but also from broken relationships, like shattered pieces of glass, and hinges on the despair he goes through while opposing the pain of losing his friends and family.
The wound runs so deep down in Ganpat’s heart that nothing makes up for what he has gone through and none of the ways of his children making up to him matters anymore. Having lost friendship, love, and even his identity, what remains with the king of the theatres is his memories and ties of the past and the depth of characters whose lives and grieves he manifested through his plays in his heydays, both of which he can’t seem to let go of. Through Patekar’s paramount acting that gets you on the edge of your seat, Ganpat’s character reverberates in the audience’s hearts, with each of them taking away some part of him when the show is over.
The uncompanionable heart and the burdened past of the character accumulated throughout his life mirror the emotional turmoil and sadness that human beings have to bear in their share of adversities. That’s why the story, although simple, resonates with the audience since everybody goes through pain in life. The dramatic music combined with flawless acting and direction adds more intensity to the significant scenes in the movie.
While the film world is crowded with commercial movies which have a place of their own, a dramatic work of art like Natsamrat occupies a room that can’t be filled by anything other than the movie itself. Some films are made solely for the purpose of going all out on imaginative pursuit and the authenticity of this movie will continue to inspire aspiring filmmakers to go out of their way to expand their creativity.
Where To Stream Natsamrat?
You can stream this Marathi gem from the comfort of your home on streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Zee5. And we strongly suggest you not watch Natsamrat illegally since such movies require all the support they can get.