I was in Pune ( a city developed by the Peshwas) over Independence Day weekend and it seemed only natural to see “Rama Madhav” a love story set in that era. But Rama Madhav is no ordinary love story – it is a love story of the Peshwa Madhav Rao and his wife Rama.
The movie begins with Rama playing with her friends in her parents’ home at Solapur where the Royal Palanquin had finally come to bring the child bride to her marital home – the Shaniwar Wada, the grand palace of the Peshwas in Pune. Once at the palace, Rama endears herself to the young Madhavrao whom she had only met at their wedding and the two soon the establish a strong bond of friendship.
After the Battle of Panipat which all but wiped out the Maratha’s, things began to fall apart, particularly when the Peshwa Nana Saheb died leaving his son the 16 year old Madhav in charge of the kingdom. But Madhav proved to be an able king and restored the might of the Peshwas despite his Uncle Raghoba’s shenanigans against him. Sadly the young prince is struck by the Royal Disease Tuberculosis which eventually destroys him. His wife Rama follows him on his funeral pyre and goes sati rather than stay behind as his widow, particularly since she was childless.
Balancing artistic licence with facts is a difficult task but Mrunal Kulkarni who also plays Madhavrao’s mother in the movie does it with skill and dexterity. Ably supported by Alok Rajwade as Madhav Rao, Parna Pethe as Rama, Shruti Marathe as Parvati Kaku and Sonalee Kulkarni as Anandibai, against the backdrop of the splendour of the Peshwa court with fine silks and opulent jewelry. Prasad Oak as Raghobadada is not very convincing despite his fits of rage. Equally disappointing are the battle scenes.
While purists will find lots to criticise, I would highly recommend this movie for a brief look into the life of the Peshwas.Those who don’t follow Marathi needn’t worry because the sub-titles do justice to the crisp dialogue.
Verdict – Must See