AB Aani CD movie review: Marathi Baghban?
AB AAni CD is about the neglect of the aged since this is no society for old men.
AB Aani cd
On: Amazon Prime Video
Director: Milind Lele
Cast: Vikram Gokhale, Subodh Bhave, Amitabh Bachchan
Now this is such a 'meta' movie. Just look at it this way. There's an old man here. His family treats him like dirt. Regulars around are equally indifferent towards him. It's only when a rumour starts flying that this supposedly common-man is friends with the cinema superstar Amitabh Bachchan, that his stocks rise. His daughters-in-law take his existence more seriously.
Which is what happened to me (and might happen to you as an audience) with this film. I wouldn't have taken this Marathi movie (that has dropped directly on Amazon Prime instead of waiting for a theatrical release) seriously had it not been for the presence of Bachchan (or AB). Bachchan takes half the space in the picture's poster. The film's title refers to AB, And (Aani) CD, as in the lead character, Chandrakant Deshpande.
Except, Bachchan is really not there in this film. In the same way that he is actually not the lead character Chandrakant's friend in the film either — for all the attention that the old gent accidentally garners from that possibility! Does that make sense, from a meta point of view? To me it does.
What else to do besides amuse oneself thus, given that there's little to appreciate by way of filmmaking standards in general here — laden with predictive-text screenwriting, plus television-like camerawork. That said, essential that we don't confuse issues that we have with a movie, with the issues that it intends to highlight. One can totally feel for the latter, while holding on to the former.
In that sense, this is a film about neglect of the aged, since this is no society for old men. And it talks about fakeness of a celebrity culture that attributes value to an individual, merely for their proximity/association with a public figure. God knows we see both these things around us all the time. So as a story it's closer to being the Marathi 'Baghban' (2003), if you may; at the same time its point doesn't fall too far from, say, the Shah Rukh Khan, Irrfan starrer Billu (2009).
Neither of which were masterpieces, of course. But there was a certain visceral connect that Baghban had that would've flown past me if it wasn't for an old man, who was sobbing all through, sitting next to me at the theatre when I first watched that film. From a mainstream point of view Baghban was possibly the most impactful Bachchan movie in the early 2000s phase of his career. Quite similar to perhaps Rajesh Khanna in the same mould, in Avtar (1983) — no relation to James Cameron's Avatar, that Govinda believes was offered to him by the way!
Watch the trailer of Amitabh Bachchan starrer AB Aani CD Here:
Don't know if a Baghban like subject explains Bachchan agreeing to a minute-long cameo in this pic. Or is it the matured, Marathi actor playing the lead character here. It's been a minimum couple of decades at a stretch, surely. If I were to close my eyes and imagine the visual archetype for a dignified, Indian, educated, old family-man, with lines on his face that tell a common story, and a demeanour that captures the general ethos of the great desi middle class, I think the person who will show up is Vikram Gokhale — the man at the centre of this film.
There is something so real about him, and yet unique that he doesn't continuously merge with all the movies where he's played similar roles in (unlike, perhaps, Rajiv Verma, if you recall the rich daddy from Maine Pyar Kiya!).
Gokhale is a bona fide lead actor in Marathi cinema, which has been of fairly low quality over the past decade or so, compared to its rich cousin, Bollywood, next-door. It'd be triply 'meta' if the 79-year-old Gokhale doesn't get his due because of films like these.
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