PRAKASH KUNTE’S FILM CYCLE
CAST: Hrushikesh Joshi, Priyadarshan Jadhav, Bhalchandra Kadam
DIRECTION: Prakash Kunte
█ Bicycle thieves
Filmmaker Prakash Kunte is well known for his work on the popular fi lm Coffee Ani Barach Kahi, and though he has been busy since, none of his later works have been as strong as big debut. Until now.
Cycle, a very simple fi lm with philosophical overtones marks his comeback as an important director.
Although Marathi fi lms are recognised nationally for their strong content, a close examination would show that this assumption is based on very few fi lms.
Cycle is a good example of a ‘content fi lm’ which takes an idea, examines, elaborates it from different angles, and is enough to hold our attention with this alone.
Cycle also shows a departure from Kunte’s earlier films.
All of them were romantic comedies, more or less, and featured urban characters in a variety of settings.
Cycle is set against a rural backdrop with characters to match.
Conceptually, one can find the idea at home with neorealist cinema, in fact we all do remember De Sica’s famous film, Bicycle Thieves, which featured a bicycle theft and featured characters in search of stability.
Cycle is also about a bicycle theft and ‘search’ is definitely one of the key elements, but this one is not a realist film.
It falls more in the ‘fable’ category, set in a time of innocence, where everyone is potentially good and happy endings are just round the corner.
The film is set in the ’50s, in a small Konkan village, and revolves around three characters. The first is Keshav (Joshi), an astrologer.
He has inherited the trade from his grandfather along with an unusual bicycle. In Keshav’s mind, the cycle symbolises the inheritance, and he attributes his command over the trade to the cycle.
Naturally, when it is stolen by two good-natured crooks Gaja (Jadhav) and Mangya(Kadam), Keshav starts feeling insecure.
Feeling out of his depth, Keshav leaves his home to look for the cycle.
The search for self is one of the key concepts in the film and it really scores on that front. The cycle plays an important part in the life of Keshav as well as the crooks, but ultimately, it is no more than a prop, a MacGuffin.
The film illustrates that the human nature will not change by an external force, but the change needs to come from within.
Cycle lacks the standard negative characters thus removing the familiar dramatic element. It presents the director an opportunity to look at his characters in depth.
The film features spectacular work by cinematographer Amalendu Chaudhary that heightens the sense of fantasy, while being real enough to get the point across.