A biopic on a real life character needs all the research needed about the journey and nuances of the person!! However, when it comes to a spiritual and religious person being heralded, the research needs to be done on a large scale with authenticity being precise and the screenplay being endearing and interesting!!
Sony Entertainment Television’s efforts to bring about a biopic on Sai Baba, exactly during the completion of 100 years of Sai Baba taking his Samadhi in Shirdi, is a momentous effort and needs to be applauded. The highly ambitious project to be initiated by Nitin Vaidya lead Dashami Creations has been yet another brilliant move.
The cult of followers of Sai Baba has only grown manifold with time, and this show will only add up to their devotion and love for Sai Baba of Shirdi. However, TV works on drama, and that is what the major TV viewing audience look forward to. Devoid of drama and being high on realistic and devotional flavours, the show cannot be expected to rake high ratings. But it will surely touch the emotional chord of viewers.
Amidst beautiful and pleasing settings of the village of Shirdi, the story kickstarts with Baija Maa (Toral Rasputra) seeing the dream in her sleep of a child (boy) running towards her. This sets the pace for Sai’s introduction wherein the boy is shown entering the village of Shirdi. Scenes of Baija – Appa Kote (Hemant Thatte) longing for their progeny, Baija’s heart sinking the moment Sai calls her as ‘Baija Maa’, her love and devotion towards him, and the manner in which she protects him from the village head are really heart-warming.
Abhishek Nigam as the younger Sai shows that he is a class actor, even when it meant holding on to a calmer persona. His serene mannerism, his dialogue delivery and enacting through his eyes indeed touches one’s heart.
Toral Rasputra as Baija is tailor-made for the role. After seeing her in a very different avatar in Balika Vadhu, she indeed looks calm and pleasing in this simpleton role of a mother who longs to have a kid, and then see her ‘Bala Yogi’. For Hemant Thatte, this role is a revelation of sorts. A very under-rated actor till now, Hemant flourishes in his part, and hits the right expressions. Vaibhav Mangle as Kulkarni spells tyranny and the manner in which he pronounces a huge punishment to the extent of burning a poor farmer’s land just because he crossed his limits is indeed cruel and shocking.
Above all, moving to Abeer Soofi, the actor playing the role of the grown-up Sai, he is a true find for the industry, must say!! His tall physique, telling features and again the calm in his eyes are apt for the character. The actor moulds into his scenes – he smiles with ingenuity, he emotes great and shows the eagerness of going back to Shirdi to meet his Guru and Baija Maa in his eye.
The interaction scene of the younger Sai and Kulkarni really made us sit up where the latter speaks about his ‘guru’. Also, the opening scene of Abeer wherein he is shown in his sleeping position on the top of a rock and the close-up scene are filmed really well. The scenes where Sai helps an aged man meet his lost horse again, scenes with the tiger, the sequence where the opportunity of going back to Shirdi falls in Sai’s lap with the man asking him to grace the marriage of his relative are smooth-flowing.
Sai’s address of ‘Ram bhala kare’ after helping a Muslim and ‘Allah Malik’ when addressing the pious Hindu Malsapati speaks about how worship towards God is beyond all religion. The scene where Malsapati puts down the plate full of turmeric and how it adorns the feet of Sai, just as it is placed on the feet of the idol Ghantoba is simply inspirational.
The homecoming of Sai to Shirdi is indeed huge, with emotions at play. The meeting of Sai and Baija’s young son is really cute. ‘Kya dekh rahi ho Baija Maa’ – the scene and its high-level emotions wherein the mother meets her son after years, touches our hearts. Toral’s non-stop dialogue delivery on seeing her son, simply stupendous.
Talking about the research, right efforts have been put in to bring the show on air and kudos to the team for that. The realistic looking sets bring in more serenity to the scenes. The cruelty and dominance of Kulkarni over the villagers bring tears to our eyes and create angst. The entire village of Shirdi looks forward to that ray of hope that will save them from the cruelty of Kulkarni, and Sai will only give them that.
The show is indeed a must-watch if you want to see simplicity, devotion and of course, the journey of Sai towards his Samadhi in Shirdi.
Overall, it is a show with a good message, devotional flavour and good performances. But if you look towards watching a show with big drama, twists and turns, then you will miss all that in Mere Sai. If you are looking at a different flavour, Mere Sai is the answer.
IndianWikiMedia.com gives this effort a 2.5 out of 5 stars.