Friday 13 February, 2015
Starring: Yash, Amulya, Anant Nag, Shahbaz Khan, Sampath Ram, Rangayana Raghu, Sadhu Kokila, Girija Lokesh,
Mandya Ramesh, Arjuna (elephant) from Waynad, Kerala
Narrator: Prakash Raj
Producer: Jayanna, Bogendra
Music Dir: V. Harikrishna
Lyricist: Yogaraj Bhat, A.P. Arjun, K. Kalyan, Pawan Wadeyar
Singers: Baba Sehgal, Krishna Iyer, Sowmya Raoh, Tippu, Shankar Mahadevan, Shreya Ghoshal, Santhosh Venki
Distributor: Sri Ganesh
Genre: Epic Action, Romance, Drama
There is already a full and accurate synopsis on Wikipedia, but it tells the full story, including the ending. So here’s a brief W.O.G.M.A. (Without Giving the Movie Away) synopsis, that will not spoil the film for you.
The story is introduced by Prakash Raj as a narrator. There is an ancient temple Mysore called “Shankara Narayana”, which is managed by a holy “Mutt”, headed by the pontiff (Ananth Nag). The Mutt is equally revered by both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Krishna is a “nice guy”, a happy and kind-hearted lad. His parents had been childless, but his father (Jayarama) and his mother (Girija Lokesh) promised that if they had a son, he would be given to the Temple. He is told by the present Pontiff of the Mutt (Ananth Nag), that according to his been horoscope, he is destined to become the next Pontiff of the Mutt, and that he must give up women, gold and land. He says he is unwilling to do this, but the Pontiff says he has already shown himself as having a generous character, giving to the needy even as a young lad, and now he has a finance business, but doesn’t collect interest, and lets people off when they can’t pay. The Pontiff tells him he must accept, or pay a fine, and that fine is to donate an elephant to the Mutt. The elephant must be from Karnataka, must understand Kannada, and must “trumpet in Kannada”.
So off goes Krishna to the jungle in search of an elephant, where he meets Forest Officer Agni (Rangayana Raghu), and then gets chased for offering Agni a bribe, by Agni in a jeep. He jumps off the road, and rolls down a slope into a pool of water, where he meets (underwater) Meera (Amoolya), a beautiful girl, who is also swimming underwater in the same pool. What a coincidence! He falls in love with her (naturally), they sing a song-and-dance routine together, with his friends – but she tells him she does not want anything to do with him – so now he just has to get an elephant!
Agni eventually takes him to meet the people in a hamlet of the forest area of Aanegudde. They say a stranger can’t stay there, but then they agree to let him stay,when Agni tells them he has come to catch a forest goon, called Kalingan, much feared by the tribal folk of the hamlet. He confirms that he is there to catch Kalingan. He is told that Kalingan is very fierce and no-one, not even the animal, can do anything without his permission. He meets Odiya (Sadhu Kokila), a hunter who lives there, who as a kid used to play Kabadi (an Indian game) with lions and tigers. Eventually he discovers that Kalingan is a very rough elephant. So not only has he to try to catch Kalingan but he has to contend with a local don who is trying to take over the tribals’ land to build a tourist resort, to find the girl in the water, and convince her of his love. In all this he is connected in some way with an ancient warrior who lived there. So the scene is set for the continuation of a very interesting and imaginative film.
1. Maneli Appa
2. Ishtu Divasa
4. Sui Tapak
6. Kannada Siri
Released Year: 2014
Running Time: 161 minutes/Colour/Kannada
This film is set in an elephant reserve in a forest area of Aanegudde in Karnataka, and shows the beauties of the countryside and forest in which the film is set. This genre of this film can be described as an Epic Action, Romance, Drama, Comedy. It has something of everything, including Wild-life and Nature Photography. The narration by Prakash Raj sets the scene and explains everything at the beginning. There is comedy, provided of course by Rangayana Raghu and Sadhu Kokila, acting together, as deadly enemies. It is common in Telugu films for two comedians to act in scenes together, but it is the first time I have seen it in a Kannada film, where there may be two comedians, but they act in separate scenes. Ananth Nag is delightful as the Pontiff of the Mutt. Yash and Amoolya play their roles to perfection, Yash, who falls in love at first sight (underwater – I haven’t seen that before in a film), and Amoolya with hostility to his love. You get a real sense of the life in the hamlet in the film. The only thing I am not sure of is whether the Kerala elephant, featured in the film, trumpets in Malayalam, or, as required, in Kannada! There is no mention in the credits of a pachydermal dubbing artist!
In the first song, “Maneli Appa”, Krishna sings of the way he is treated by people, and his view of life – accompanied by his four friends, dancing. “Ishtu Divasa” is the love-song I referred to in the synopsis, in which Krishna sings of his love to a somewhat bemused and unresponsive Meera, again accompanied by his four dancing friends. In “Aakashavella” we see some wonderful shots showing the beauty of nature, using time-lapse photography – and also some wild bird close-ups. The lyrics, picturisation and choreography of all of the songs is imaginative, but any further details would reveal too much of the story. The melodies are quite unusual, yet attractive.
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