Rege (pronounced “ray-gay”): the last name or “namesake” of an individual. Also, in the context of the film, the main character Anirrudha’s last name.
Rege is a Marathi crime film in the mold of Hindi cinema’s late 90’s/early 00’s trend of police encounter cinema. Laid out in non-chronological order, it follows a college teen (last name Rege) who gets engulfed in the criminal underworld after he becomes enamored with the power of a mysterious small-time gangster named “M Bhai”. At the same time, rogue encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma (a cool and deadly Mahesh Manjrekar) is tracking down “M Bhai”s clan as he also fights his own legal battle with money laundering and using his department’s money to invest in real estate.
While the layout may be non-chronological, much of what goes on in the film is straight forward. It’s a It’s a movie that doesn’t screw around with the point its trying to make. As Rege slowly descends into the clasp of M Bhai and is taken for a joy ride to drink and get frisky at the whore-house and then returns home to his parents only to leave again for his friends “birthday party”, it’s clear directo Abhijit Panse’s objective is to show the double-edged sword that comes with independence at a young age. Rege’s father is a successful doctor, and has no qualms about his son’s work ethic or ability to succeed. But Rege’s mind is obsessed with the idea of power in a nation where the citizens can get constantly bullied by the system (in many cases we see Rege and his friends pushed around by mobsters, police, even simply more influential classmates). It’s then understandable that the moment Rege witnesses M Bhai bend police to his whim, his goal becomes attaining that power, which in turn, would theoretically result in his liberation. If you can control the law, you are essentially “free”.
The film follows a similar theme to Satya in that it clearly showcases the decay of one’s innocence as he delves deeper into the rabbit hole of underworld crime (it even has a nautanki wedding song similar to “Sapne Mein Milti Hain” which is of course, disturbed midway by gunfire). Rege’s life turns into one of constant hiding, and constant fear of being double-crossed. As M Bhai and Pradeep Sharma both tell Rege to keep his mouth shut while at the same time asking him to rat on the other party, Panse’s narrative corners its main character between a rock and a hard place, with no clear way out.
The difference from Satya in this film lies in the second story with encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma, who is also showcased as a man who’s power and greed transcend his duties as a cop. There are no “good guys” in Rege and everyone must come to terms with their curse of being involved in an incredibly ugly world of crime and politics. It’s a good film, and something you need to see if you lament that films like Satya, Shool, Company, and Ab Tak Chappan aren’t being made anymore (although let me pump the brakes and say this movie is not as great as any of those films, but it is satisfying nonetheless).