As you might know from my pseudonym, I am a massive fan of Ponniyin Selvan. So when the movie got released recently my first instinct should have been to go and watch it. Thankfully almost all films here (AFAIK at least in Coimbatore) are being played in the theatres with subtitles in English. Which is brilliant as I could take Mr M to the movies too. All the cast is perfect according to the trailer and I love that Vikram is playing Adhitha Karikalan as no one could bring that passion in the character like he does. He is so apt for that role. I like that finally Aishwarya has got a meaty character which mostly is portrayed in a negative sense which means that she has to bring her A-game to it. But in spite of all this, something is holding me back. Maybe it might be that I don’t want my own visuals from reading the book mixed up with the movie version and also I would have to wait for the 2nd part of it for a little while. So I have been postponing watching the movie. In the meantime, my brother went to the movie Kantara and he insisted that we watch it, especially for Mr M as he would get to see some local culture in the movie.
When I had a day off work during the week, we decided to utilize it to watch the mid-day show hoping that there would be less crowd. Nope, the theatre was full! We had booked the Tamil dubbed version even though I hate dubbed movies but it had English Subtitles (The Kannada version was only available for a late evening show which didn’t suit us 😦 ) I forgot how loud the theatres can be 😀 I was glad that I had my earplugs in my handbag (it is a constant resident in my handbag…you never know when you need one).
The movie had a good pace and having grown up in the era of Veerappan and having grown up on the stories of the local people (including the tribes) and how they get affected by the rules and regulations of the government and such, it was relatable to me. It also had some humour laced throughout which made it a little light-hearted otherwise it could have become a dire and very heavy movie. It is still a very heavy movie in terms of its essence and what it is trying to convey and such …so interlacing the story with some romance and some lightness was done very neatly. For me personally, the movie kicks into the third gear only after the intermission when the unexpected death happens. The fact that you kind of know who had done it but not being able to articulate the rationale behind it was quite frustrating, I should say 😀 I like a good whodunit as you might know. The way it was all neatly tied at the end gave it a good finish. The use of the local folklore, local dance (belonging to the Mangalorean region), and local dialect (there were a few Kannada dialogues which were spoken in the local dialect and for those dialogues, there were additional Tamil subtitles provided), were all done very well. The dance form resembles Theiyyam which is a Kerala speciality. The spirituality of the people was also woven into the story very well. The other aspect which I found interesting was the environmental issues that were brought up. There wasn’t any resolution found in the movie, because that would have been difficult to achieve but they touched upon those aspects and left it to viewers how they want to take it.
My only grudge was the amount of violence in the movie. It was kind of needed to emphasize the attitude of the protagonist and his quick-fire anger but it sometimes gets too loud and too violent rendering the movie not suitable for young children. Also, I think the folk dance performance has a very ruthram effect to it which means there is a lot of anger and screaming so that might also scare the children.
Other than that, I enjoyed the movie immensely and was glad that I chose to go and watch Kantara instead of PS1 (not that I have anything against it.. I am just waiting for the 2nd one to be released and would like to watch both together). This was Mr M’s first Kannada movie. It doesn’t matter which Indian language it is in as long as it has subtitles but this is the first almost-Indie movie that he has seen in a South Indian Language. I have subjected him to Rajnikanth and his Robot movies so far. This movie was a huge deviation from the commercial masala movies he is used to. He totally enjoyed the movie and even tried to imitate the scream (very unsuccessfully might I add). It gave us points to discuss after the movie which I think is always a good thing.
Definitely, a must-watch movie. I should also say that the performance by the actors, especially Rishabh Shetty is top-class.