From what I learnt about Faster Fene in the past two months, this school-going boy detective created by BR Bhagwat was the Marathi-equivalent of this generation’s Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys. I haven’t read a complete book but have skimmed through a translated summary of Pratapgadavar Faster Fene, and immensely enjoyed a passing reference to it early on in the movie. (Readers, if there were other easter eggs hidden in the film, please enlighten in comments below. Would love to know.)
Director Aditya Sarpotdar presents us with an older Bhanesh Fene aka FaFe (Ameya Wagh) with a contemporary set of problems – he is now done with school and is trying to secure a seat in a good medical college. He has come to Pune for his entrance exams, and soon learns about the suicide of his fellow examinee. Suspecting foul game, he sets on with an unlikely set of accomplices – a journalist Aboli (Parna Pethe), a young thief Bhu-Bhu (Shubham More) and a celebrated writer B R Bhagvat (Dilip Prabhavalkar) – to uncover the truth. But little does he know that he’s setting foot in dangerous waters and into the murkier world of Appa Andhare (Girish Kulkarni).
Keeping up with the modern times, the film has several soft references to technology we’re accustomed to now. The antagonist, played brilliantly by Girish Kulkarni, is equally modern. He has an account on Facebook, pokes his “friends”, and has many technology puns lined up his sleeves. Same with FaFe – he has created new abbreviations to some of the common messaging terms we use on a daily basis like LOL and ROFL, and their meanings make sense in the story.
Ameya shines in the titular role, and the young and old root for him in the same note. His ‘tock’ gets re-tocked by the audience – an extremely good sign that the audience has not only accepted him in this character but they also find him likeable. Girish Kulkarni is simply outstanding as Appa. There’s not a single remark of the actor that fails to get a giggle or shudder out of you. Dilip Prabhavalkar’s role is comparatively small, but he does an excellent job.
A special bow to the screenwriter and the editor for skipping the fillers for most part. There’s hardly any melodrama or unnecessary romantic triggers that would’ve undone the tension created. The BGM is good, but at point gets too much. But that’s about as much flaw I could find in the film.
Faster Fene could be the first Marathi film franchise that could really stir things up. I thoroughly loved watching it, and can’t wait for the character to return.
Overall Rating: 4/5
PS – For people who do not speak or understand Marathi, the makers have included English subtitles for your aid. Do catch this in theatres if possible.