An idealistic teacher starting in a new school and changing the conventional way of teaching to completely shatter the expectations of parents and teachers about some students in one way or the other has been a popular subject for films. From the 1989 Hollywood film “Dead Poets Society” to the 2018 Bollywood film “Hichki” there are a lot of such instances. A sub-section of this type of films are the films in which the school will be in a remote village where education isn’t given a lot of importance and this new teacher, with their great wisdom and kindness, change the lives of students. “Bardo” is the latest entry into these type of films from the Marathi language.
“Bardo” tries to be different from these films by making the new teacher more naive and still trying to cope with her failures while trying to live up to everyone’s expectations. The school already has a teacher whose wisdom and motivations surpass that of the new teacher. Every other character is shown to be teaching this new one about one thing or the other.
Ashalata (Anjali Patil) is the new teacher in the school of the remote village of Dhanor. Utpal (Makrand Deshpande) is an aspiring researcher who the villagers call “Theory” as he roams around talking about the Theory of Relativity like a madman. These two becomes the propagators of ideas about the bright future of Dhanor while everyone else has almost given up on the place itself. Buddhisagar (Girish Pardesi) and Nakusa (Shweta Pendse) are the characters who act as those who expose the hopes and practicality of the dreams of Ashalata to herself.
Ashalata finds two kids from the village, Babu and Pintya, who save a drowning girl and with the motivation of Theory, decides to help them become competitive swimmers and achieving her own unaccomplished dream of becoming an athlete. Visu (Sandesh Jadhav) a man who wants to swim till he finds the depth of the river but loses one of his legs on the process, come in to help these kids learn to swim. But Sakharam (Ashok Samarth), father to one of the boys and uncle to the other, doesn’t approve as he sees nothing good in this for common villagers like them.
The plot of “Bardo” is predictive and complicated at the same time. The details that make it complicated are intriguing concepts each of which can hold a great film on its own. However, the focus rarely stays cohesive towards the whole film, considering all the details that are included. From the idea of Theory of Dream Relativity, the unavailability of development and infrastructure in the village and ambitions of athletes to the patriarchal structure of society, the film manages to talk about a lot of important issues. Yet, not one of them takes the limelight like the soapy drama.
This Marathi film brings some of the best acting talents of the industry together. Makrand Deshpande shines in the role of Theory, although his dialogues could have been better, which takes away a bit of the charm of his performance. Anjali Patil has been having a remarkable couple of years earning her positions as a promising young actress from one of the promising theatre actress that she is. The roles she’s choosing are of women who have something to say about the society vocally or just by their existence. Be that her roles from “Newton” or “Kaala” she’s also working with some of the biggest names from the industry. Along with these two, there’s also Ashok Samarth, one of the prominent actors in the Marathi film industry.
Even though all these amazing actors came together, their performances weren’t as great as one expected. The direction and editing limit their capabilities through a narrow view which undermines a lot of the themes of the film along with the performances. “Bardo” showcases the limitations of Bhimrao Mude as a director. Nonetheless, the film is still an interesting watch for the village life of Dhanor.
Dedicated to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, “Bardo” tries to tell its story being relatable to all kinds of people which makes it more watchable than it could have been.