Posted by Leo Oommen
Ever watched a Marathi film and felt it’s completely clichéd? Well, 15 August might make you feel so, but it shows how the clichéd life of common people could mean something truly out of the box. It could bring out a social change, a change in the mindset and instil a patriotic zest as a whole. While the film is primarily a love story of Jui and Raju in a close-knit community chawl of Mumbai, it’s a simple narration that takes its twists and turns very smoothly.
This Netflix original opens on a boiling teapot scene in a Maharashtrian household indicating how the current situations are changing for good. It denotes a strong sense of anticipation of the Independence Day and the whole city seems to be in the mood to celebrate the glorious day. The characters are normal in every way. Most of the households in the Gandhi chawl are glued to the television to watch the parade.
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From nosy neighbours to those who would do anything to help each other, we see different types of people around. People are well aware of what’s happening in each other’s lives that they might know more about your family than theirs. There is a different kind of warmth that flows throughout the narration. What really struck a chord with me was how the whole story is about a day in the life of Mumbaikars. From dawn to dusk, there are multiple lives, multiple stories and how at the end they are free to move forward that can be observed in 15 August.
What really struck a chord with me was how the whole story is about a day in the life of Mumbaikars.
For the Deshmukh family, the day is of utmost importance and it’s because it’s the day the suitor/prospective groom is about to visit their home. There’s a great rush in the house for Jui to get ready, mentally and physically to marry the guy her parents find suitable. According to them, it is they who are solely responsible for Jui’s best. No matter how old she gets, or how financially independent she is, when it comes to marriage there is no choice given to her other than to marry the guy her parents find for her. There is a lack of acceptation about how love marriages work, for them love is not something they can ever opt for.
Jui, played by Mrunmayee Deshpande, is the one who goes through much more parental pressure to get married as compared to Raju, played by Rahul Pethe, who is still exploring his passion. One can sense how there’s a difference in the treatment of basic things in life for the sexes. Even while their love for each other is known to their parents, we see Raju’s father warn Jui about how his son is a complete loser for being a painter. There is no appreciation of the fact that he is pursuing what he loves, it’s all about money for middle-class families. Being a painter is considered being completely penniless forever.
We are introduced to Ninad and his friends much earlier in 15 August, who is seen playing with marbles before the flag hoisting ceremony. For them, freedom is playing the whole day without any interruptions. We also see how the kids are being interrupted by the minor nuisances around them yet they keep playing. There is a subtle comedy present throughout the film, which basically highlights how well comedy is inbuilt in society and how we fail to recognize it on a larger scale.
this film brings a smile to your face in the simplest manner while conveying a strong story of common people.
The Sanskrit phrase “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means ‘the world is one family’ is showcased beautifully through multiple scenes and dialogues. The idea of togetherness and brotherhood is faithfully depicted when Ninad’s hand get stuck in a small pipe and how gradually the whole chawl gathers to his rescue. We see how individuals are partly in their own inner circle of thought yet trying to help others. For e.g. Gavaskar tries to help but he still awaits to deliver his Independence Day speech but eventually, he forgets it all. There is a scene when a politician comes to the area and how he gives false promises in the chaotic rescue mission and further never comes to help, which again depicts reality.
Produced by Madhuri Dixit Nene and Dr Shriram Nene, this film brings a smile to your face in the simplest manner while conveying a strong story of common people. For me, 15 August is all about how liberty, love, equality is inclusive in a society and not just a part of national revolutions. This film could be considered a study of the cultural milieu of the Maharashtrian household as it throws us moments, which we could ponder upon and evolve into a better world.
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This film could be considered a study of the cultural milieu of the Maharashtrian household as it throws us moments, which we could ponder upon and evolve into a better world.
Leo Oommen is a copywriter and a learning feminist. She has completed her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is an epeolatrist and a bibliophile, who loves to critique the latest advertisements, sitcoms, and films. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Featured Image Source: CineBlitz