The Disciple is a Marathi drama film written and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane and starring Aditya Modak, Arun Dravid, Sumitra Bhave and Deepika Bhide Bhagwat, alongside other cast members.
I think we have all loved a particular hobby or way of life in our lives that we’ve had to give up because we had to make something of ourselves. If not, then we’d have to give up something else. It is this tumultuous scenario that pushes one to make a decision as to which route to take and in a world where everything is rapidly changing and evolving, making this decision is of the utmost importance.
The Disciple is Netflix’s latest drama offering that has many, many layers to it. The movie is about a man’s shift from being naïve to mature, the relationship between a mentor and a mentee and the choosing of one aspect of life and essentially giving up another.
Sharad Nerulkar is a classical singer who is trying to make it big. His mentor, Pandit Vinayak Pradhan, is a tough cookie, a person who understands the task at hand and will make his mentee work to get his expertise and experience. Sharad, on the other hand, has many things on his mind – as a man in his mid to late 20s, that’s expected.
Sharad’s path to becoming a great classical musician is, however, strewn with tough choices, decisions and obstacles. His relationship with his parents, his guru and his inability to mix with the people of the opposite sex are all a part of the problem too.
Amongst all this humdrum, Sharad finds himself when he rides his motorcycle in the empty streets of Mumbai listening to Maai’s voice recordings. She says that the life of a classical vocalist is fraught with challenges and poverty, if you want recognition and money, film music is a better bet. These sequences are haunting to watch and the air around Sharad, and essentially us, seems to vanish as you listen to her voice with the haunting background music.
There’s a certain sense of detachment in these scenes, not only for Sharad but for us as well. As Sharad soars through Mumbai’s streets, he lets go of his worries and problems, the only thing that matters in Maai’s voice in his ears. And somehow, that becomes true for us as well. As he tries to juggle the various facets of the craft that he is practising, this is probably the only moment that gives him any sense of peace, and you can feel that when you The Disciple.
The mentor-mentee relationship, too, is explored well in The Disciple movie. Sharad is absolutely at the beck and call of his guru. Apart from trying to absorb what his master is teaching him, Sharad massages him, takes him to the doctor, accompanies him everywhere and cooks for him. He literally does everything for him. Then there is his relationship with his father, a man who was also a classical singer but had to give it up to take care of his family. These complex relationships and experiences make The Disciple a cerebral watch that makes you think and takes you into a different zone.
Writer-director Chaitanya Tamhane does an excellent job at portrayal Sharad and his various problems. We look at the story not from Sharad’s eyes, but as an outsider. There’s always a distinct feeling that we are witnessing whatever is happening as a third person. The tone of the film and the cinematography, along with the classical background music, create a beautiful viewing experience.
Aditya Modak is great at Sharad Nerulkar. A classical musician himself, the actor does a brilliant job at portraying the role of Nerulkar and putting forth his various problems. His character, too, is very well-made and is balanced out.
Summing up: The Disciple
The Disciple is a great watch. The movie is interesting, cerebral and will keep you on your toes as you go through Sharad’s various life experiences. If you’re looking for something different to watch this weekend, this one is a good idea.
The Disciple is streaming on Netflix.
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