Padmalatha Ravi on
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 19:19
With "Move On" as a tagline, this new Kannada movie seems to be showing the industry a new way ahead with a fresh take on life, love and women. Padmalatha Ravi reviews.
With just four films out of 64 being declared a hit in the last one year, Kannada films have not have been ranking high on the optimism scale. And then, you get Lifeu Ishtene by debutant director Pawan Kumar. It’s a refreshingly fresh take on the old boy-meets-girl story, with a strong script, and clearly-etched, sensible women characters. Debutant directors in Hindi cinema like Dibankar Banerjee of Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye fame have successfully introduced a new cinematic language. With Lifeu Ishtene, one hopes that Pawan can do the same trick for Kannada films.
The storyline isn’t new. It is the same old boy wants to meet a girl story. But the film moves away from the ‘one life, one love’ mindset (that is so scared to a Kannada hero). It explores the various hues of love that one encounters, if one lets life take its course, that is.
The class II love story that dissipates because the protagonist Vishal (played by Diganth) changes school, to the MBA love story that quietly dies because he refuses to grow up.
But the banality ends there. And happily so. There is newness in the way the movie is treated, the characters don’t spew stale dialogues, and they say things that you would hear any youngster or a parent say in a real life situation today. The supporting cast isn’t just a prop; they have a role to play, a well scripted role at that.
Director Pawan is able to draw out the best from experienced actors Veena Sundar and Achyuth Kumar for the role of Vishal’s parents. The loveable characters bring on a new perspective in the entire hullabaloo about ‘love marriages’. There is a natural flow to the back and forth that happens between present, past and the future.
But what got my full marks was that the women in the film are real! They are not your usual whitened, straight-haired, fake-boobed, dolled-up women who constantly forgive the men around them. It doesn’t happen very often in films, in Kannada or any other language, so I have to take note of this. Interestingly, one of the girls from Vishal’s past is a basket-ball playing, north-eastern girl. Now that is a first too. She is also taller than Vishal.
Nandini (played by Sindhu), the first big love of Vishal, is a girl who knows her mind. She is in love with Vishal alright, but is practical enough to see that the I-will-be-the-next-Beatles-with-my-guitar guy isn’t really going to impress her father. Her love’s real enough, but doesn’t see it working. To Vishal’s credit, he doesn’t take it personally either. It does take him six months of getting drunk and running after other women to actually understand it, but he gets it.
Rashmi’s (played by Samyukta) character on the other hand is more non-conformist, free-spirited and assertive. While free-spirited characters aren’t alien to silver screen, non-conformist, assertive woman surely is.
But the best line comes from the Veena Sundar, Vishal’s mother. In the scene, where the father wonders about his son’s lost love, Veena quietly says, ‘Between your lost love and his lost love, no one is bothered about my lost love, Shankru!’
Now how often do you hear that? That one line tells you so many things. That ‘mothers’ have a past too, that it doesn’t make them bad mothers, that they move on, that the director has actually thought about the character.
Incidentally, the censor board asked the director to cut the scene where one of the heroines, smokes. But the men’s smoking and drinking scene was let off with a “smoking and alcohol consumption is injurious to health”.
There are issues in the film if you were to nitpick. But the fact that this is a film with a new perspective and a new cinematic language makes you gloss over the flaws. Here’s hoping there are more such films for the sake of the people who are yearning for some quality cinema.