Three adult men who have been friends for years leap into a car and head to Goa. It isn’t Dil Chahta Hai but a Marathi web series that pays fond homage to the movie on its 20th anniversary even as it charts its own destination.
Shreyas, Dinar and Prasanna are many years away from the time when they first watched Dil Chahta Hai in Pune. Now well into adulthood but deeply regretting it, the trio take the time-honoured route to enlightenment – a road trip.
Shreyas (Abhay Mahajan) has been dumped by his fiancee for reasons unknown only to him. Dinar (Alok Rajwade) drinks far too much and doesn’t appear to have a sense of purpose. Prasanna (Lalit Prabhakar) gets the ultimate warning that his youth has ended: his wife is going to have a baby.
Beer, beaches and Goa beckon. But Shreyas, who is acquiring a mad glint in his eye, drives instead to Shantivan, a meditation retreat in Lonavala. In between deep breathing sessions and back-to-nature exercises, the trio learns to accept that boys can’t stay boys forever.
Shantit Kranti is the latest web series from the Marathi YouTube channel Bharatiya Digital Party. Founded by Sarang Sathaye, Paula McGlynn and Anusha Nandakumar, the channel known to its fans as BhaDiPa rolls out comic sketches that hilariously send up Marathi manners.
For Shantit Kranti, the founders have paired up with their Hindi counterpart The Viral Fever. Directed by Sathaye and McGlynn, the six-episode series is out on Sony LIV.
As overstretched as it is unambitious, Shantit Kranti barely expands on its themes. Irreverent humour and endearing characters guide the episodes through patches of banality and endless references to Dil Chahta Hai.
The desired return to an embryonic state by men who have barely grown up themselves yields numerous laugh-out-loud moments. Punchlines and quotable insults fly thick and fast between the friends, who are utterly believable in their self-inflicted misery and their loyalty towards each other.
The snarky exterior yields a surprisingly soft core. Two of the men have daddy issues, while the third is going to be a father himself. So it isn’t entirely surprising that the initial sneering at the ashram’s self-actualisation methods gives way to acceptance and submission. The revolution promised by the title turns out to be another sly joke.
Apart from excellent performances by Abhay Mahajan, Alok Rajwade and Lalit Prabhakar, the series has impressive turns by Shikha Talsania, as the manager of the retreat, and Vijay Nikam as a mysterious wisdom-spouting soul. Suhita Thatte has a short but memorable cameo as a grieving woman who forms a bond with Prabhakar’s Prasanna.