Monday 22 July, 2013
Sainika Kannada – The Ultimate soldier
Starring: Yogeshwar, Sakshi Shivanand, Radhika Verma, Ashish Vidyarthi, Doddanna, Raj Gupta, Tennis Krishna,
Rupa Prabha, B.V. Radha, Ashok Rao, Vrunda Rao, Sonali, Srividya
Director: K. Mahesh Sukhadhare
Producer: Dasari Chaitanya
Music Dir: Deva
Lyricist: K. Kalyan, Sri Ranga, Basha Gulshan, K. Mahesh Sukhadhare
Singers: Chitra, Srinivas, Harini, S.P. Balasubramaniam, Hariharan, B. Jayashree
Distributor: United Videos
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
The film starts with a bearded, crippled and somewhat dishevelled man on the train, arriving in a village, and looking at the statue of a soldier.
The scene quickly changes to a company of ninety soldiers, in Kashmir, led by Subedar Surya (Yogeshwar), and Captain Badshah (Ashish Vidyarthi). They are attacked by Jihadi terrorists who flee, and eventually come upon a wedding party, and massacre everyone. The army, who are in hot pursuit, eventually manage to kill the terrorists, but with the death of many of the soldiers. One girl in the wedding party, Kamli (Radhika Verma), a singer, is saved with great bravery, by Surya. However, the army believe that there are more terrorists, and that they are planning another attack. Later, in the village, Surya meets Kamli. She speaks, Kannada – her father is from Karnataka, her mother is Punjabi – theirs was a love marriage. We then meet her family, and there follows an outdoor love-song (“O… Chinna Chinna”) – with the girl and Surya, and a group of female dancers – in the beautiful mountain setting of Kashmir. The army go on to root out and kill the terrorists. Kamli loves Surya, but he tells her that he is going back to marry Gowri. With tears in her eyes, Kamli says, “God has written your name in my fate, but not my name in yours.” Then follows the song, “Male Bille Male Bille”, in which Gowri dreams of Surya’s return.
Surya returns home to his mother, Shanta; dad, Surendra; sister, Kaveri; and brother, Dhruva; and, last but not least, his dog, Punya – who all live in a village in Southern India. He then has a happy reunion with Gowri, his uncle’s daughter and his childhood sweetheart. Then follows the song, “Soldier Soldier”, a love-duet between Gowri and Surya, set on a sandy beach, and on and beside a river. The entire family is aware that Surya is in love with his childhood sweetheart, Gowri, and arrange their engagement. However, after the engagement, Gowri’s father, Virendra, asks Surya to quit the army and take up farming, but Surya refuses, so Gowri’s father breaks off the engagement. A heartbroken and bitter Surya decides to cancel his leave and return back to Kashmir, but Gowri meets him as he is leaving, and tells him that she loves him and wants to marry him. Virendra tries to stop the marriage ceremony, and tries to take her away, but she insists, saying that she will marry Surya. Her father curses her. The wedding takes place nevertheless. There follows the song “O Gombe Gombe” with Gowri, Surya and a large group of dancers, both male and female, filmed indoors and outdoors, by day and by night.
However, war breaks out and Surya is asked to recalled to Kargil. The family realise that he may never return and Virendra’s curse may well come true.
Then we see the dishevelled man that we met at the start of the film. He listens as people talk about the prosperity that has come to the village as a result of compensation paid by the Government to the family and village of Surya, because of his death in the Kargil war. They now have a school, a bank and a hospital. It seems that it is now Diwali, because everyone is celebrating, with fireworks. We see scenes of the war, showing Surya’s bravery, and how the truck he was travelling in was blown up. Then the mystery is revealed, of who the dishevelled man is, and why he came to Surya’s village.
Songs (not subtitled):
1. O… Chinna Chinna
2. Male Bille Male Bille
3. Soldier Soldier
4. O Gombe Gombe
Released Year: 2002
Running Time: 149 minutes/Colour/Kannada
Several things make me sad about this superb film.
Firstly, it had only “average” reviews by the film critics on its release in 2002.
Secondly, I believe it is no longer available from the manufacturers – unless perhaps lots of people write to them as a result of this review, asking them to continue to make it.
Thirdly, the songs are not subtitled. This means that only people who understand Kannada will know what they are about. The songs are absolutely superb, in fact one of the main highlights of the film.
I understand that this film is at present (July 2013) no longer available on DVD. Message to the manufacturer – please continue to manufacture this DVD, and please try to have the songs subtitled – they are among the loveliest I have seen in any film of any Indian language – the film is so good that it deserves a much wider audience.
Lets start with the songs. I have described them in some detail in the synopsis. “O... Chinna Chinna” is shown against the beautiful mountainous backdrop of Kashmir. It is a love-song featuring Kamli and Surya. The dancers are dancing in the fields and on the hills, with perfect timing, just like they used to do in some of the older Hindi movies. Costumes are very colourful and varied. Look out for those long red shiny boots worn by the dancers in several scenes in the song!
“Male Bille Male Bille” is a song in which Gowri, back home in the village, dreams of the return of her “Knight in shining armour”, Surya. There are male and female dancers, in brightly coloured and contrasting colours, and we see scenes of the dancers at the side of a railway as trains pass, and sometimes scenes where the dancers look like villagers. Village, rural, river and waterfall settings are used as the locations, as well as the railway lines.
“Soldier Soldier” is a love song, with Gowri and Surya, with the backdrop of beach and river settings. There are three very brief scenes interspersed in the song, so brief you would scarcely notice them, of two children, obviously Gowri and Surya when they were younger.
“O Gombe Gombe” is a song where we see Gowri and Surya celebrate their marriage, with a large group of female and male dancers – look out for the long red boots again. Settings are indoor and outdoor, day and night.
I have waxed lyrical (no pun intended) about the songs, but I cannot praise them too highly – the beauty of the countryside and coast and sunsets in different parts of India: the superb choreography: the beautiful contrasting colours of the costumes: the poetry of the sound of the Kannada lyrics, and the beauty of the instrumental backgrounds to the lyrics of the songs. This DVD is worth buying for the songs alone. Yet it tells superbly a very moving story of the sacrifices made for country, by those in the army, and by those left at home who wait. It has important things to say about patriotism and terrorism.
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