Critic’s Rating : / 5
Kantara Movie Review : It’s a Rishab Shetty show all the way
Review: The story begins in the 18th century when a king gives a piece of land to the tribals in exchange for peace, joy and prosperity. Centuries later, consumed by greed and selfishness, the king’s successor tries to threaten villagers during Bhoota Kola to return the land. But his mysterious death puts an end to the debate. Twenty years later, forest officer Murali, who considers himself the custodian of forest, tries to put an end to ‘unscientific rituals’ of the forest-dwellers, in a bid to save the forest. But hot-headed Shiva, who believes that the forest does not need to be saved as it is not in danger, takes Murali head on. Though their intentions are same, their way of dealing with it is poles apart. This results in several heated arguments and fights between the two. Leela (Saptami Gowda), a newly appointed forest guard, is initially caught in the crossfire between the villagers and the forest department. But she quickly takes a stand, which puts Shiva in trouble. Landlord (Achyut Kumar), who is also the successor of the dynasty, and now a local politician, also has his eyes on the ancestral property. Who does the land actually belong to?
A predictable storyline that is embellished with technical brilliance to make it a unique experience. Kantara is a Rishab-Shetty-show all the way. He shines as the director as well as the protagonist. The cinematography pulls you into the film and makes you a part of it. The first half has a very engaging storyline and apt comedy with quirky one-liners in coastal dialect. The second half, however, delves deep into the actual story of culture and tradition, blended with a little bit of mystery. The biggest take away is the pre-climax and climax, which is conceived and performed to perfection. Rishab Shetty’s performance in the last 20 minutes is chilling. Since he comes from the coastal region, the mannerisms have come out effortlessly on screen. The movie shows the hidden, aggressive side of Rishab as an actor.
Kishore gives an equally powerful performance as forest officer. His bald, clean-shaven look adds gravitas to his role. Saptami Gowda has nothing impactful to do till the climax and she has put up a decent show. Achyut Kumar, as a cunning landlord, is a valuable addition. Pramod Shetty, Praveen Tumbe and others have played impactful fillers. The way all these characters come together to tell a compelling story is brilliant.
The film is a visual grandeur. DOP Aravind Kashyap has done a brilliant job with lighting and frames. A lot of attention is given to the making, which is dipped in folklore. Situational village comedy works well for the film. The film explores the culture of Tulunadu without any compromise. B Ajaneesh Loknath’s music is soothing. With plenty to savour for both mass and class audience, Kantara undoubtedly makes for a wonderful theatrical experience.