Natasamrat is story of a retired theater artist. Natasamrat talks about family, it’s values and friendship. Natasamrat explores the art of theatre and how the originality has been fading with passing time. Mahesh Manjrekar has beautifully portrayed the phrase “Once an actor always an actor” in Natasamrat.
Mahesh Manjrekar brings to you this grandeur of an actor with some joyful scenes. Natasamrat is very clumsy initially questioning you with every single thing. Gradually the story unfolds and you are lost in Ganpatrao’s world for next 150 minutes. First half of Natasamrat is more about family issues, changing times which are difficult to cope with for Ganpatrao. The artist in the film just makes appearances. Second half comes with lots of surprises for you. Film is filled with too many rock solid scenes taking the film to an different level and giving you goosebumps.
Only one flaw in the film. Natasamrat being the film based on play with same name fails to take the liberty of cinema as a medium at many places. Manjrekar shoots the scenes the same way one sees it on stage. Only difference being the shots are close ups or mid length and you can see the performer perform more clearly. Even these scenes are seen in the film the way it could be seen on stage. The entire money episode in second half is sort of turn off. But hats off to Manjrekar that he has covered his flaws by bringing out the best from his actors in these scenes. The flaw is not prominent as such but for me it was very clear.
Nana Patekar is nothing but a true definition of an actor. Flawless is understatement to describe his performance as Ganpatrao the Natasamrat. Nana does not give you chance to think of keeping some other actor in his place for this role and he just wins your heart with his performance. Vikram Gokhale delivers a stunning performance. When Nana and Vikram are in the same frame the scene turns out to be nothing less than magic. Rest of the cast; Medha Manjrekar, Sunil Barve, Mrunmayee Deshpande, Neha Pendse and Ajit Parab to name a few were good enough. Medha as usual matches to her costars but Mrunmayee steals the scene as a supportive performer. Mahesh Manjrekar’s direction makes Natasamrat a special film which will be remembered by generations. His command over the execution of story is simply commendable.
Natasamrat being set few decades back is very contemporary and teaches you many things relevant even today. Film is highly entertaining because of its execution and superb performances. The other technical aspects takes a back seat in this one as the main two departments; performance and direction field the film superbly. This one is highly recommended. You leave the theatre surprised and just praising the film.