Sunday, March 16, 2008

waLu - a refreshing comedy

Just happened to watch a marathi movie "waLu" in theaters after years on end.I cannot even remember the last one but this one will linger in for some time for sure. A comical, satirical movie set on the backdrop of a Maharashtra village whose current health is disturbed by an advent of waLu - a wild bull

waLu : The real meaning of waLu is a huge, well built bull (OX) with an extra-ordinary libido capable of impregnating dozens of cattle in a really short span. Here the libidinous prowess is represented through his destructive power by harrassing the villagers.

The movie begins with a forest officer receiving a call to catch the wild bull (a huge black terrier) which has wreaked on a tiny village called Kusawade. This is a near insult for a person capable of catching and taming wild felines. He arrives in the villages with the usual fanfare accorded by the rural folks. Accompanying him are his younger brother, who wants to shoot a documentary on the plight of the villagers and the fight to catch the wild thing. The forest officers equipment consists of a couple of shot-guns and a blow-pipe with some sedatives in syringes. Though being an out-an-out MharaTi, he blurts out English suitable to a "Forest", as he is affectionately called by the KusawaDe'ites.

The very first POA for capture of "Durkyaa" as the waLu is referred, called by, is held, quite ironically, in the temple of KankaLeshwar (another name of Lord Shiva) whose vehicle is none other than the Nandi (a huge bull). As fate has it, on one hand they worship one kind and despise the second one."Forest", played by Atul Kulkarni tries to figure out the routine of Durkyaa and plan a way for the capture by putting together the narratives dictated by most of the respected public. All of this is being suitably captured in the "documentary" being put together which infact is the real deal behind the huge turn-out.

In all of this are the commonplace incidents/sidestories like a one-upsmanship between the surpanch (the village chieftan) and aaba (a new generation rebel of sorts), jeevanya - whose stock has sky-rocketed since "Forest" makes him his "Friday" for the mission. There is the brooding love-story between a belle (played by Amruta Subhash) and Shivaji whose fathers are at loggerheads due to an accidental death of a bull on the day of baeel-poLa (Festival Day for Bulls). A semi-crazy woman who is protective of the bull and the mother of jeevanya (played by Jyoti Subhash) who feeds the nasty animal each day.
The actual capture of Durkyaa by rope-a-dope is well captured in lens with total chaos in the back-ground and all previous planning which goes for a complete toss. The officer is treated as a hero-of-sorts and a procession is taken similar to those of deities. Finally the two factions and all villagers come together for celebrating this common victory.

waLu (the bull) is symbolic or metaphoric of the lives and stages happening through the life of the villagers and one very pregnant cow. The pain caused by the bull is shared by the cow through her labour pains. The disturbance and havoc is reminiscent of the gastro-entritis experienced by the village priest (Dilip Prabhawalkar in a surprizing role). The freedom of movement enjoyed by Durkyaa is missing from the lives of the two lovers who want to break barriers and elope. The loneliness of the bull grazing in the open sun but the immense power that it withholds is similar to that of the surpanch and aaba. Both powerful in their own accord but find themselves very lonely as the village meets at the temple and are left out of the documentary.

The movie ends with the very pregnant cow delivering a fresh new "waLu" - a black calf probably fathered by the beast



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