Ignorance is bliss and fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. The movie starts on an interesting premise that being practical and pragmatic matters in life. And that dreamers and those who suffer fools gladly are bound to come to grief. By midway one realizes that the plot may be somewhat contrived but will still effectively deliver the same message. But the climax lets you down as the message gets watered down and we have a sweet and mushy ending to the tale.
Let us talk about a middle-class family that is full of dreamers with no sense of reality except for the practical-minded ‘daughter-in-law’, Rama, who is often taunted for her outspoken nature and reminded that she is from Pune. Am not aware of the cultural allusion there, but surely to be firm footed and with a sense of reality is not a crime. One wonders why ‘Punekars’ should be blamed for being so virtuous.
For the Kemkar clan it is indeed so since they live in a land of delusions – the patriarch is involved in fighting a hopeless court case for wrongful dismissal from service wherein it is quite clear to the viewer that he may a kind-hearted soul but was foolish enough to trust a rogue character. So we have no doubts about the eventual outcome of the case. Then we move on to his devoted wife, who is shown to be poor actress and yet dreams of making it big in Hindi films playing the ‘mother’ character.
The daughter is shown to fall in love with a wastrel character but thankfully she escapes suffering for it. So it would seem till the Punekari Rama tries to convey to her a sense of reality. Unfortunately the episode follows with a suicide attempt and a long and painful recovery. Finally are we now looking at reality? Not quite since a fairytale romance is shown to bloom with the doctor who treated her and who is based in the ultimate destination – an NRI in the United States of America.
To confuse us further Rama is shown to feel remorse and made to repent for being brutally honest in her manners. Her husband and younger brother-in-law are the two other sane characters but possibly because we can only take so much in two-and-half hour movie.
The movie ends with Rama turning ambivalent and even supporting the Kemkars who want to continue living in a fools paradise, as apparently that is what ‘middle-class-dreams’ are meant to be. To face and live with reality otherwise is just too painful.
Surely a letdown for what we started with and coming from the makers of classic movies like ‘Kalat-Nakalat’ and ‘Saatchya Aat Gharat’. We get some mushy logic about caring for others and not raining on their parade.
Horace Walpole wittily commented that Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. But movies like this also remind you that it is verily possible that the ‘dreamers’ happily march to their song and the thinkers remain a bit muddled by their doubts.