The Kannada film industry is more than 80 years old. Right from the first movie Sati Sulochana, which was released in 1934, it has given us a plethora of movies in different genres. Since the start of this decade, there has been a new wave in the industry. A series of young actors, movie directors, most of who are new-comers, have risen to fame with their original concepts and fresh stories. The following six movies are my personal favourites which fall into this category. All of them are available with English subtitles, so it is a great way to pick up some Kannada as well.
ಲೂಸಿಯ Lucia (2013)
Director: Pawan Kumar
Lucia was a pioneer of many sorts. It was the first crowdsourced movie and it changed the face of the Kannada film industry. The movie explores the concept of Lucid dreaming with a non-linear plot. The story revolves around Nikki, a ‘byaatri-buDonu’ (usher) in a local cinema hall, who gets dragged into a different kind of dream after taking a pill to cure insomnia. The movie received critical acclaim and won the audience choice award at the 2013 London Indian film festival.
ಉಳಿದವರು ಕಂಡಂತೆ Ulidavaru Kandante (2014)
Director: Rakshith Shetty
The title, according to the movie maker, translates to “As seen by the rest”. The film revolves around a murder and is an anthology of how different people view it. Although the concept is not something completely new, the local flavor makes this movie stand out. It showcases the life, language and prominent art forms from coastal Karnataka such as Yakshagana and Huli-vesha among others. It is also a milestone event for Kannada cinema because of the sync sound technology used to record the sound. Unlike the common practice of dubbing over the dialogues, every dialogue in this movie was recorded at the time of filming. Movie buffs will also appreciate the efficient usage of “Rashomon effect” in this movie.
ಕೆಂಡಸಂಪಿಗೆ Kendasampige (2015)
Director: Duniya Soori
Mostly set in the busy areas of Bangalore and some other cities of Karnataka, the plot of this movie revolves around a young couple who are falsely framed by the police in a crime and are on the run. Duniya Soori has mixed creative elements in an otherwise commercial movie, thereby adding a unique fragrance to Kendasampige. This movie is portrayed to be the sequel to an upcoming movie titled “Kaage Bangara”.
ತಿಥಿ Thithi (2015)
Director: Raam Reddy
The most striking part of the movie is that all main roles are done by non-actors. It is a dramatic comedy about how three generations of sons react to the death of the oldest of their clan. The setting in the movie is so natural that it just seems like the happenings in a small village is recorded without the villagers noticing it. Thithi has gained international acclaim and bagged numerous awards in multiple film festivals. This is definitely one-of-a-kind movie.
ಗೋಧಿ ಬಣ್ಣ ಸಾಧಾರಣ ಮೈಕಟ್ಟು Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu (2016)
Director: Hemanth Rao
Those who watched Kannada news at 7 pm on the DD9 free-to-air channel would be carried away by a wave of nostalgia upon hearing the title of the movie. The familiar phrase was frequently used to describe the traits of a missing person within the 2-minute airtime before the news started. Godhi Banna Sadharana Maikattu kicks off this nostalgic trip right from the outset by getting into its groove with Ananth Nag in his mettle as Venkob Rao suffering from Alzheimer’s and trying to hold on to every last piece of memory of his son and wife. He goes missing, and with this starts a son’s quest to find his father back whilst dipping into his own shared life experiences with him and in along the journey learns different facets about his father’s life. Interspersed with another crime angle, the movie powers through by the virtue of a great cast and by the sheer brilliance of Ananth Nag.
ಪುಟ ತಿರುಗಿಸಿ ನೋಡಿ Puta Tirugisi Nodi (2016)
Director: Suneel Raghavendra
The movie follows the story of a promising ex-cricketer whose dreams of representing the country are shattered and is now working hard to make ends meet, and his effervescent girlfriend who herself is unable to resolve the conflict with her own mother who is resolute in her displeasure with her daughter’s choice of a husband. Weaving through them are a bunch of kids of different cricketing factions facing off each other in a win-or-get-out-from-our-ground match which lends him his other chance to seek redemption from his own demons of the past. Puta Tirugisi Nodi received rave reviews in the last installment of the Biffes and deservedly got a limited commercial release this past month. PTN is a little gem of a film, which needs to be watched once. And again. And numerous times. By many.
– Harsha Bharadwaj