Ever wondered what happened to Mr Aggarwal in Deewar? Or where does the ‘item girl’ go after her special song ends? CRD is the kind of film that makes you wonder about the people on the periphery, flirting with limelight but never really in it.
Directed by National Award-winning filmmaker Kranti Kanade, CRD revolves around Chetan Ranjit Deshmukh (Saurabh), a young and enthusiastic actor-writer who joins Ferguson College in Pune and wants to represent the college in the time-honoured inter-college theatre competition, Purshottam. The title of the film comes from the lead character’s initials. Students begin preparing for the play, written and directed by Mayank (Vinay), who is an ex-student. Chetan is infuriated with Mayank’s harsh method of training and decides it will be his play, and not Mayank’s, which he will take to the competition. Will he succeed? What will his play stand for? That is what the film deals with.
The entire film is imbue with a heavy theatrical gravity. The narrative unravels at a languid pace but it helps give heft to the issues the film deals with. From artistic rebellion to the futility of art and how human nature can be best portrayed in shades of grey, Kanade tackles a variety of issues with his film. And that can be tedious at times.
The beauty of the film lies in its absurdity, audacity and cheekiness – you get to hear and see things that you don’t expect from a typical Hindi film. Mentors train their students’ to get out of their emotional space while verbally abusing their mothers and women throw used sanitary napkins in faces of men who want to know, “Why are you moody, periods hain kya?”
Also, there is a certain ambiguity to the entire film that leaves you wondering whether it is celebrating or mocking the particular attitude, especially towards arts. Kanade, who is a self-confessed fan of Chaitanya Tamhane (of Court fame), weaves the complexities of real life in a similar fashion as saw in the Marathi film.The film does not aim to offer any solution to problems but merely point at the various aspects that often go unnoticed.
Chetan’s character perfectly displays the frustration of an artist – his struggles to break the norm, his personal turmoil, the eternal fight between the good and the bad and much more. Mayank, on the other hand, is a single-dimensional character – one who knows the rules and believes he is the best among his peers. Perhaps, he is the only stock character in the film — a typical villain.
The entire narrative focuses on Chetan, hence Saurabh gets the maximum canvas to showcase his acting. Vinay offers the perfect supporting cast as the tyrannical Mayank. All other actors, Mrinmayee Godbole, Geetika Sapna Rakesh, Abhay Mahajan and Isha Keskar are remarkable.
Despite a small budget, Kanade has beautifully used lighting to make the film vibrant and appealing.