Baap Manus is fit for novels, not just it shouldn’t have been a movie. It’s just that not all filmmakers can handle such sensitive topics with ease and not all actors can understand the intensity of such characters and situations in real life.
To tell you what went wrong in the story, let me quickly tell you what Baap Manus is all about. This film revolves around a young man, Shreyas (played by Pushkar Jog) who loses his wife, Asmita to childbirth. Since the couple was living alone in London, after his wife’s death, he has no clue how he will handle the newborn. To make it easier for him, Asmita’s mother asks him to move with them to Scotland so that the grandparents can take care of the child. Given the rude tone of his mother-in-law and the intention to take charge over his and his newborn daughter’s life, Shreyas refuses the demand which is put forth as a need of the hour. From here on, his struggle to raise a daughter single-handedly while managing his demanding job begins. To make things slightly easier for this single father, Madhav (who is also his colleague) and his wife steps up. While Shreyas is busy with work or has to extend his working hours to meet the deadlines, we see Madhav’s wife taking care of Cookie (Shreyas’ daughter). Till here, though emotionally not satisfying to watch, the story was doing good.
The writer messed up the story the minute Anusha Dandekar was introduced in the film. Her character, Krisha’s presence looked forced all the time. Shreyas and her bond also looked unnatural and had nothing to do with empathy or love for each other. It felt like the writer had no plan to bring in Krisha in Shreyas’ life but suddenly he lost the track of the story and decided to have a love interest that would make this single father’s life easy but also difficult at the same time. Without this plot, the film might still have been a good watch but with Krisha, it all spiralled downwards.
Work-life balance, Shreyas’ changing equation with his mother-in-law, their shared love and a sense of responsibility towards Cookie were all good plot twists to keep the audience hooked. There was no need for an additional character to explain the father’s commitment to his daughter better. That looked like a tail which wasn’t originally part of the body.
The performances also lacked lustre. Pushkar Jog did well but the intensity was missing. The emotional and mental exhaustion a parent goes through after losing a partner, especially if there is a kid to look after, is missing in the script and also, in Pushkar’s performance. Honestly, it was entirely his film. Little extra efforts from his side and this film could have been saved even after the plot went haywire. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
But if you ask me whether you should watch or skip this film, I would say watch it. It’s a good story and a genuine effort (though failed) to deliver a film that stays with you.
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