I never realized how close to my own reality a movie could get till I watched the #Marathi #movie #ASTU….as I sat through the 2-hour-5-minute film and watched small and big events of my life playing on screen, I realized that the story writer (and/or many others closely associated with the film) too would have probably lived these moments in her life to be able to portray this disease so accurately. It is true that #dementia / #Alzheimer never affects just one person, it affects the entire family. It changes your life so completely that you can never be the same person again – whether you are the patient or the #caregiver .
ASTU is actually the narrative of a 24-hour day in the life of Dr.Shastri, who is a person with dementia, and his immediate family and their experiences as he gets lost while trying to follow an elephant through the crowded streets of Pune. The screenplay seamlessly moves in and out of incidents in the past and present as his daughter traces the journey of the discovery of her father having Alzheimer’s disease and the subsequent ways in which the family, and she particularly, has been dealing with it. The delicacy and vulnerability of human relationships when challenged with a situation such as having a person with Alzheimer’s disease in the family is very sensitivity handled in the film. The manner in which Dr.Shastri connects with the mahout’s wife Chanamma is also touching – no relationship, no identity and yet, he places as much faith in her as a small child does in his own mother.
The performances by the entire cast are good, but #IravatiHarshe , #AmrutaSubhash and #MilindSoman deserve special mention. Dr. #MohanAgashe , of course, is stunningly flawless in his portrayal as a person with the dreaded dementia. And hats off to #SumitraBhave and #SunilSukhtankar for attempting to weave a film around this lesser known and oft-misunderstood illness…as a caregiver, my personal thanks for recognising and documenting the angst of a child who sees their parent lose their memory and identity and living through the helplessness of it all.