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NUDE (Marathi) - A worth appreciating bold attempt that avoids going into the dark regions of its well-chosen subject. (Review by Bobby Sing)
02 May, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases / Indian Regional language Gems (Other Than Hindi)

Giving you the early story, the film got sidelined in last year’s International Film Festival of India creating a controversy, but the makers chose to remain silent, unlike the makers of S-DURGA receiving the same treatment in the event. But as always the controversy actually brought forward the two films and the readers/viewers got to know about them quite early before their official release. 

As a brave attempt aptly titled NUDE, this is probably the first Indian film on the well-chosen subject of women posing as nude models in art schools for a living. Glimpses or mention of the plot was recently seen in another ‘much-discussed’ film LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA, but the subject was waiting for someone to make a complete film on it since long. Thankfully here we have a worth appreciating film, yet again coming from our Indian Cinema made in regional languages, instead of the more popular Hindi Cinema (that has lost its much needed strong spine since more than a decade or so). 

Having said that, NUDE is also not any outstanding, powerful gem to be very honest. But it’s certainly a well-intentioned, courageous effort with some unjustified, weaker moments in its narration, restricting it from being called a major path-breaking film. 
 
Pointing out its praiseworthy merits first, it’s a film called NUDE that isn’t obscene or interesting in serving the audience excited by the unusual & suggestive four word title (except the opening scene which actually does that on purpose). So stay away if that is what you are looking for in the film in particular.
 
As a matter of fact, not objectifying a woman’s body, showcasing the nude modeling sequences so tastefully without falling into a trap making anyone uncomfortable, can easily be quoted as one of the major achievements of the film directed by Ravi Jadhav along his talented DOP Amalendu Chaudhary. They both as a team present these specific scenes in a highly sensible, sensitive, respectable as well as responsible manner deserving praises. And that should ideally be inspiring enough for the readers to give it a fair chance. 
 
A thoughtfully layered film (reportedly inspired by a real life instance), NUDE beautifully focuses on the trauma of a physically abused wife, a single mother earning for the education of her young son, a middle aged lady as the sole bread earner looking after her workless husband and their undisclosed profession (together) of being nude models in an art school.
 
However, it’s the performances that simply lift up the film supporting its well-chosen theme, especially the lead act by Kalyani Mulay (as Yamuna) and the supporting performance by Chhaya Kadam (as Chandrakka). Kalyani is simply flawless and brilliantly showcases her state of pain, shame, fear and happiness with a body language that is nothing short of a treat to watch for the interested viewers. Chhaya truly compliments her with a great support and their scenes together become the most powerful scenes of the film giving some solid social messages. The youngsters playing her son and the college student enact their part well and so does Naseeruddin Shah in a cameo modeled on the famous M. F. Hussain.
 
Struggling in the middle post intermission, NUDE finally comes up with a predictable yet shocking, thought provoking climax, boldly commenting over the double standards prevalent in our society, since ages. The final sequence of the film brutally conveys the truth how a son can easily call his mother by names without any shame or guilt, but cannot tolerate when someone else portrays her in a painting as a nude woman’s body. 
 
Apart from the cinematography, the film excels in the background score and music (songs) too, that certainly help in enhancing the overall impact of many key sequences, particularly in the first half when Yamuna faces humiliation from her husband and then later shifts to the city witnessing a completely different life and people never seen before.
 
Coming to the weaker moments of NUDE that restrict it from becoming any path-breaking gem or masterpiece, they are unfortunately the ones that strangely do not match with the overall vision of the film and its presentation.
 
Where dialogues make a more than decent impression throughout the film, they suddenly become typically ‘heard before’ kind of stuff when spoken by Naseeruddin Shah playing a rich, known artist. In fact, Naseer’s insertion (clearly reminding you of M. F. Hussain) looks like forcibly added to bring in some commercial excitement into the project touching the infamous issue of the artist painting the ‘nude goddesses’. Interestingly the way he asks Yamuna to pose like a Goddess holding an instrument, strongly reminded me of Raja Ravi Varma using a beautiful model too for making his similar famous paintings as shown in the film RANG RASIYA. 
 
Further the most uneven or awkward scene of the film is the one wherein protestors barge in the Art School with placards and then suddenly return after vandalizing the property and some paintings so quickly without making any impact whatsoever. Besides the way students start clapping watching Yamuna going back to the class after the chaos, honestly looked like a part of one of those poorly made films that nowhere matched with the rest of the project and its vision. Wonder why the director and his team couldn’t catch this particular ‘lame’ scene in the film’s final edit?
 
Focusing on an unusual and virgin theme of ‘nude modeling’, the writing intentionally never goes into the dark sides of the profession and questionably or rather unrealistically presents it in an ‘all white’ kind of mode with no grey or black shades ever. So we have 'all saints' and no disturbing elements either in the working staff of the college or among the students or private artists calling the women for work, making it an unheard of world, to be honest.
 
Lastly, the director strongly contradicts his own characterization in the end when Yamuna unexpectedly goes for an extreme decision, not at all matching with her remarkably strong persona portrayed in the entire film. And this particular diversion, frankly doesn’t allow me to rate it as an inspiring film, conveying some precious lessons of life to the young viewers. 
 
So overall, NUDE does have its limitations, but it’s indeed a film to be seen as a must for its subject, lead performances and climax in particular leaving you with a lot to think. Moreover as viewers, we do need to support such praiseworthy efforts made by a talented team, if we really wish to see such cinema continued to be made in the near future.
 
Rating : 3.5 / 5

Tags : Nude (Marathi) Movie Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Indian Regional Language Films Reviews by Bobby Sing,
02 May 2018 / Comment ( 0 )
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