Monday 03 February, 2014
Starring: Satish Ninasam, Sruthi Hariharan, Sanjay, Achyuth Kumar, Krishna, Hardika Shetty, Rajesh
Director: Pawan Kumar
Producer: Audience films and Home Talkies
Music Dir: Poornachandra Tejaswi
Lyricist: Yograj Bhat, Poorna Chandra, V. Raghu Shashtry
Singers: S.V. Poornachandra Tejaswi, M.C. Arun, Bappi Blossom, Udith Haritas, Ananya Bhat, Naveen Sajju,
Yograj Bhat, Rakshith Nagarle, Sangeetha Rajeev, Nithin Acharya, R.K. Sparsha
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Drama, Romance
The film starts with Nikki (Sathish Ninasam), who has been in coma for three months in Bengaluru. As a background to the main storyline, the Police are investigating why he is in coma, and the media are debating whether his life-support should be switched off. It is discovered that a pill called “Lucia” is somehow implicated as a causative factor for his coma.
Nikki is from a village near Mandya He works as an Usher (“torch-shiner”) in a Bengaluru movie theatre, which he calles “Talkies”, owned by Shankranna (Achyuth Kumar), who treats him like a son. Nikki suffers from insomnia. On one sleepless night, he meets a drug-dealer who offers him special sleeping pills. The dealer tells him, “These pills will not only make you sleep, but you will have good dreams. When you’re awake, you’ll lead your sorry life. But when you are sleeping, you will live the life you want. You take my pill, and you will have just ONE dream. Like a mega serial, it will just go on. Once you start taking this, you must not stop, else your dream will become a nightmare. Life will become difficult.” He goes home, takes the first Lucia pill, and dreams that he is a film hero. In his dream, he meets an actress, Kamini (Hardika Shetty), who tells him that she is in love with him. The two story-lines run parallel throughout the film, the “dream life” being in black and white, the real life being in colour.
In real life he has a casual encounter with a girl, riding pillion on a motor-bike. She has dropped her bag – he picks it up and hands it to her. He is struck by her beauty. In his dream, he sees a photo of the same girl in a magazine, and then in a clothes shop, for which she is a catalogue model. He falls in love with her in the photos, and tries to find out who she is.
Then in real life, she comes to the cinema where he works. His parents have called a marriage broker, but there is practically no-one suitable in all his albums, because they want someone with degrees or a high salary. Then, in one album that the broker calls “reject cases”, he sees the girl on the motor-bike who came to the cinema, the girl he saw as the fashion model in his dreams, the girl with whom he has fallen in love. She is Shweta (Sruthi Hariharan), a girl who works in a Pizza Parlour. He goes to the Pizza Parlour, where he dresses up in a Disney tiger costume, to dance for a children’s party. At this point, dream and reality alternate, the song for the children’s party is also the item-song he is doing for the film, which she also features, the song “Jamma Jamma” – she is now in his reality, and also in his dreams. In real life, though she likes him, she tells him she cannot marry him, because he earns so little.
There is one really amusing sequence in the film, when Shweta (who, in real life, to complicate matters, wants to become a film heroine), sends him off for a week, as a tourist guide, with four English-speaking girls, who want to paint rural life. Her idea is that he’ll learn English from them, and be able to get a better-paid job, and she can then marry him. When they return, all the girls are speaking Kannada, which he has taught them: he has not learned any English!
In a televised interview by Gaurish (Rajesh), Nikki relates that when he was a boy, he hurt his head in an accident, in which his parents died. He had not been able to see any colours since then. He tells Gaurish that in his dreams, he would like to be an ordinary man “Everyone wants the star, Nikhil, not me. My favourite dream is that one in which I am a torch-shiner in a theatre. Everyone goes to the theatre. The torch-shiner there shows them the path. He takes them to their seat. But nobody notices his face. It is as if he in invisible right in the middle of the crowd.” Interspersed during the televised interview are extraneous scenes, with comments about the drug, Lucia, “You need to write down your dreams. The more you write them down, the dreams will continue. You will not be able to differentiate between dreams and reality. Your mind starts to believe that your dream life is your real life.”
The film end with the statement – Your “small” life is somebody’s “big” dream.
1. Helu Shive
2. Jamma Jamma
3. Yako Barlilla
4. Thinbeda Kami
5. Nee Thoreda
Released Year: 2013
Running Time: 137 minutes/Colour/Kannada
Sathish Ninasam as Nikki
Sruthi Hariharan as Shwetha
Hardika Shetty as Kamini
Sanjay as Sanjay
Hardika Shetty as Shankranna
Rajesh as Gaurish
Krishna (as cop)
This five-star film is a work of Genius. It could be described as an “Art Film”, a film that not all of the general public will understand, or as we say in England “not everybody’s cup of tea”! If you have not seen this film I would urge you to watch it. If you have seen this film and did not enjoy it, and did not understand it, I would urge you to read carefully my synopsis and review, and then watch it again. If ou did enjoy it, you will no doubt want to watch it again.
From some of the descriptions I have read, it would seem that not all the critics have understood it either. Let me say first of all that this is a unique film. This is the first “Crowd Funded” Kannada film. More than 1,300 people contributed Rs.70 lakhs ($114,000) towards the making of this film. Let me say secondly that what strikes one immediately is how good the cinematography is, how well filmed and lit are all the scenes, and how the quality of the black and white scenes is every bit as good as those of the colour scenes. The film is extremely well acted, particularly by newcomer, Sathish Ninasam: and also by Sruthi Hariharan, Hardika Shetty, Hardika Shetty, Sanjay, Krishna; and finally by Rajesh as Gaurish, the TV Interviewer towards the end of the film, in whose interview, we have a concise summary of what the film is about. The songs are all good, in this case coming as a continuation of the story, rather than as separate entities, filmed in exotic locations. The whole film is very well crafted, written and directed. Well done everybody!
In life, people often wonder what their lives would have been like if things had turned out differently.
Some wonder whether their lives have made any difference to the world or to those around them. In the 1946 American film, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, (considered one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made), James Stewart plays the part of a man who feels he has achieved nothing in life, done nothing of any real value. He is shown by Henry Travers, who plays his Guardian Angel, how awful the town would have been like without what he had done throughout his life. His life had really made a tremendous difference, and brought happiness to so many people.
In a film review, it is customary to only mention briefly films other than the one being reviewed, for ceomparison. However, here I would like to make an exception.
Some wonder whether their lives would have been different if circumstances had been different. In "Sliding Doors", a 1998 British-American film, starring John Hannah and Gwyneth Paltrow, she is hurrying to catch an underground tube train in London, and she misses the train. The first story is what happened because she missed the train. The second story is what would have happened if she had caught the train. The two stories run parallel through the film, with a little bit of one and a little bit of the other, until at the end, the director decides in an intriguing way which was the true story.
In “12B” Telugu (2001). The movie opens with Shakthi (Shyam) on his way to an interview. After being besotted with a girl, Jyothika (Jyothika), that he sees on the way, he runs to catch the bus. An auto in his way makes him miss the bus but at this point, the movie also switches tracks to start showing us what might have happened had he not missed the bus. The two stories proceed in parallel, sharing characters and events and converging and diverging at various points. Again the Director here sorts out which is the true story.
Some wonder what their lives would have been like if they had been able to fulfil their dreams. That’s what this film is all about. But there’s a subtle twist which I have mentioned in the synopsis – Nikki’s dream in his dream, he reveals to Gaurish, his dream is to be a “torch-shiner”!
There’s a lot more to this film than what I have described. Watch it and re-watch it for all its subtleties.
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