Pondicherry 2022 movies review

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Nikita and her eight-year-old son, Ishan, stay in an old family villa in Pondicherry where she runs a home-stay for travelers. A mysterious man with an agenda arrives at Nikita’s home-stay, giving all their lives an unexpected twist.

It’s been one of the most talked-about films since the last three years, and Sachin Kundalkar’s Pondicherry lives up to the hype for multiple reasons. The first reason obviously is the fact that this is the first Marathi and one of the first Indian feature films to be shot entirely on a smartphone. The second reason is the cast, featuring Sai Tamhankar, Vaibhav Tatwawadi, Amruta Khanvilkar and child actor Tanmay Kulkarni in pivotal roles, and Mahesh Manjrekar and Neena Kulkarni in brief but impactful supporting roles. These things come beautifully together through Sachin Kundalkar’s vision and Milind Jog’s (smartphone) camerawork.

The film predominantly revolves around Nikita (Sai Tamhankar), her son Ishaan (Tanmay Kulkarni) and their life. While all seems fine on the surface as Nikita goes about running the homestay and doubling up as a tour guide, the question about her absent husband keeps popping up in your minds. An answer is provided by Nikita when Rohan (Vaibhav Tatwawadi), her guest, asks her about him. But it still doesn’t make things crystal clear. Rohan, on the other hand, gradually befriends Nikita and earns the trust of Ishaan as well. While he seems like a genuine guy, a truth about his actions is hidden from Nikita. The entry of Manasi (Amruta Khanvilkar), who has a connection with Rohan from before, changes things. What and how is for you to find out.

Like most of Kundalkar’s films, Pondicherry has a polished, almost European film-like persona. The aesthetics come forth beautifully and the city and its French side have a big role to play in this. Pondicherry, the city, too is an equally important character here. While there’s internal turmoil in the human characters’ minds, the city adds calmness to their experience, connecting them and changing their perspective. Could this story have unfolded in another city? Maybe. But would that city have done justice to it? Definitely not.

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