Pratik Gandhi, Aindrita Ray, Rajesh Sharma, Rajendra Gupta, and Abhimanyu Singh star in the film Bhavai.
Hardik Gajjar is the director of the film Bhavai.
Raja Ram Joshi, the son of Panditiji (Rajendra Gupta), aspires to be an actor. So, when a theatre company comes to his village of Khakar, Gujarat, to stage the RamLeela, he looks for a role, any role, to start his career in the performing arts. When Bhanvar (Abhimanyu Singh) becomes ill, Raja Ram is approached and offered the role of Raavan in his place, despite his initial reluctance. He is drawn to Rani (Aindrita Ray), who plays Sita onstage, and she later reciprocates. But is there any chance that Sita will ever go with Raavan in real life, even if they are just playing the parts on stage? That\’s when politics and religion enter the fray, and things quickly become difficult.
Director Hardik Gajjar, who also wrote the screenplay, jumps right into the drama, starting with an outlet series of a troupe bus travelling into a Kutch village to perform the RamLeela. Encouraged by the positive response to his portrayal of Raavan from both the troupe and the target market, Raja Ram, encouraged by Rani, aspires to continue moving to Mumbai and pursue a career as an actor.
They\’re drawn to one other and begin making plans to leave for the place of their dreams, unconscious to the fact that everyone in the group is aware of their developing love story. Naturally, Bhanvar, who seems to have his sights on Rani, isn\’t pleased with the situation.
In all of this, there is also the regional leader Ratan Singh (Gopal Singh), who uses the RamLeela for just a Shobha Yatra/Rath Yatra as a rehearsal for his campaign for the next elections.
Curiously, the participants in this RamLeela, such as the performers in a traveling troupe, play or dual numerous components. Although Bhanvar, the theater team\’s founder, also portrays Raavan, Rajesh Sharma\’s Bajrangi organizes the show, manages finances, runs their bus, and also portrays Hanuman, and Ankur Bhatia\’s Lachhu, in addition to playing Laxman, also serves as their electrician.
While previous films have exploited the RamLeela to tell a story (such as Delhi 6), Hardik also addresses the locals\’ naive beliefs and the mixing of politics and religion. The images of locals viewing the RamLeela actors as Lord Ram, Sita, and Laxman remind you of Arun Govil\’s comment in the late 1980s that he could not be seen drinking after performing the heavenly role in Ramanand Sagar\’s Ramayan.
Also pertinent is how certain politicians exploit faith to play politics, ignorant of the fact that the ordinary folk suffer greatly from their ambitions and avarice, as portrayed realistically in the film. For someone who has directed television series prior, such as Devon Keegan\’s,
Hardik knows his subject and directs the film well. He skillfully employs onstage characters to convey the feelings that the performers are experiencing offstage.
Pratik Gandhi, who was previously known exclusively for his Gujarati films before breaking into the mainstream with Scam 1992, gives an outstanding performance as Raja Ram. He depicts his character\’s turmoil and a wide range of emotions convincingly and without flinching. Aindrita does an excellent job as Rani. Abhimanyu, Rajesh Sharma (Bajrangi bhaiyya), Ankur Vikal (as Bhurelal/Ram), Ankur Bhatia (Lachhu/Laxman), Rajendra Gupta, and Flora Saini do credit for their parts.
Chirantan Das\’ cinematography is stunning, aesthetically pleasing, and enriches the action. Shabbir Ahmed\’s beautiful soundtrack, influenced by Gujarati folk music (he composed the music and wrote the lyrics as well), contributes to the storey.
Bhavai has an old-world elegance, and the presentation of the opening credits, with a golden touch to the black-and-white animation and an ear-pleasing classical accompaniment, deserves special note.