Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Kumara Rama - Naa kanda haage

May be I am one of those few people who still believe in the Kannada film industry. May be that’s what drives me to the theatres every time a good project hits the screens. This time also my loyalty towards my language drove me to the PVR cinemas where “ Kumaara Rama” was being screened. It gave me immense pleasure to know that the movie was running full house in Europa & Gold Class, where tickets are considered to be very expensive.

After a great stint, I managed to get tickets on a weekday, and I thought it could be a good mid-week break to hit the theatres on a Wednesday. So, with my cousin & my dad, there I was at Europa, Luckily , I was happy that I didn’t miss the first scene of the movie, till I realized that may be it was good for me to miss it rather than to have been there to burst out laughing in the very first scene of the protagonist’s grand entry.
Strange, I myself was surprised, was it me, who made that kind of a remark on the very first scene of the movie that I craved to watch. Well, that explains it all -that was
“Kumaara Rama” for you - Summed up.

I concluded our people do not know what the art of film making was nor do they understand what kind of homework needs to go in before the project hits the floor. Our actors are only performers who deliver what the director asks them to & nothing beyond that. Absolutely correct , may be that’s exactly what I was looking for, our actors do not think on their own. They lack their own thought process, the art of creative thinking of picturising the character in his/her mind & portraying him/her on the screen is an essential part of an actor. Here is where our actors take a beating; this is what sets them apart from actors like Kamal Hassan, Aamir Khan, Prakash Rai & several others & for the same reason, they can least be compared to the best of all Dr. Rajkumar, who was actually supposed to be playing the role of Kumara Rama.

I feel ashamed to criticize a movie which is being appreciated so much as one of the best works of Kannada Cinema. I wonder why, may be because I have had a strong influence of the wonderful book written by Su. Rudramurthy Shastri.

Even if we keep aside the literary work & analyze the movie, it appears to be a work of am amateur or comes straight out of an obsolete, old school of film making. Right from the costumes, make –up, to backdrop, the sets, nothing seems to be artistic. The introduction song of the powerful Kumara Raama , is so ordinary that it can be used in any of the so called commercial movies to introduce any regular, super normal hero of any B grade movies, there would be no difference whatsoever. While we are yet to digest this, the duet of Raama & Rathna (his Lady Love) comes up on the screen, the song goes “ Gini Raama , Gini Raama…. “. set up to imitate the mood of the early sixties romance….the song turns out to be pretty funny. The director might have thought that this could be creative, while there was no need of creativity out there, when all that you had to do was to tell the audience about a tender yet strong relationship that blossomed between a Prince & a normal Gypsy girl. The song fails to communicate the essence of a blossoming romance which intensifies the story further causing pain not only in the life of Raama & Rathna , but also destroys an entire kingdom.

The movie revolves around only Raama, but fails to bring out the importance of other protagonists like Rathnaji , Ramale , Maathangi or even Sangi, the beloved servant of Rathna for that matter who poisons Rathna’s mind.

a) Rathnaji : is a young Gypsy girl who falls in love with Rama. Fate plays a tragic role in her life when she adorns the role of her own Lover’s step mother when the king deceptively marries her by bribing her father. wow! the character unfolds beautifully, She grows into the Queens’ position overnight from being a Gypsy , she then becomes “ Rathna-Jee “ what a transformation. She is nowhere called Rathanji in the movie (What a tasteless depiction of the character). Her love for Raama is so strong, she craves for him like Meera, she lusts for him, as if he were to be the only reason for her emancipation. She is love blind, hence cannot distinguish between her responsibilities as a mother nor is able to come out of her past love life. As simple as that, she adores Raama, she does not want to hurt him, but yes, Her rage against the king is so huge that she hates the entire kingdom, for having kept quite & tolerated the old king’s cruelty of getting married at this old age. To forget her pain , she gets into liquor, The movie does not bring out this aspect of an adorable & matured Love which has strong roots, reasons to turn the story upside down. Anitha – who has performed the role probably has no understanding of how intense role is, may be she mistook it to be just another “ Saas – Bahu” saga on Star Plus…what a shame.
b) Rambha is a perfect choice for Maathangi’s role but lack of footage & flesh in her role does not justify why she chooses to join Tughlaq’s men to wage war against Raama. Finally in the climax, when she finally realizes her mistake, she pulls her dagger to slit her own throat & die. The death (sorry! murder!) of an amazing role yet again. Sorry Mr. Director, Maathangi needed proper nourishment to make an impact of that sort.
c) Raamale, the wife of Raama is the only character which appears to be right & performed to its best of abilities. Laya – has done a neat job of fitting into Ramale’s shoes. Fortunately a lease of life out there.

It is impossible for us to neglect the efforts of Shivarajkumar who is playing Kumara Raama himself. He surely has understood the expectation of the audience, may be the only thought that was running in his mind while performing the role of Raama was that he would definitely be compared to his father, the Doyen of historical cinema in Kannada film industry. He has put in all his efforts in watching every possible historical movie of his father to get his mannerisms right , but if only, he had taken the same interest in the body language, costumes & Make-up , may be also in the screen play, his dialogues, the songs, every bit of an element involved, he would have saved himself a downfall. He turns out excellent performance in certain scenes where Kalla Raama is involved, but doesn’t register well as Kumaara Raama. Kalla Raama is a senti character , whereas Kumaara Raama depicts Veera rasa in every angle. He is good at fights , but fails terribly alongside Laya in classical dance sequences. Somebody ,, please tell him you cannot make the movie once again, It’s an opportunity lost for Shivarajkumar. May be if he had a mentor, or somebody who could guide him all the way, his potentials could be harnessed better. Out here it becomes a Skill issue rather than a Will issue. His dedication towards the project is something that comes out well, but unfortunately lack of good critics around him, is a major cause for him to emerge as a good actor. What could anybody do, if the director okays the shot without sweating his actors out.

Seasoned actors like Srinivasamurthy in the role Kampilaraya, Avinash in the role of Baha-ud –din, CR Simha in Tughlaq’s role shine though their role is brief. The variety that is shown in designing these characters’ costumes is not there in Raama’s costumes. His looks on-screen is a big bore, whereas Kumaara Raama is a person who is loved & lusted by every woman in the story. That explains why Raama’s mother insists that he wear a particular ornament called ‘Pendeya” that is worn on the leg with “ Paranaari Sodara’ written on it. Boo Hoo- no emphasis on this aspect either.

“Ella OK, aadre where is Kumaara Raama in the movie”, the young, handsome, righteous, courageous, obedient, patriot, lover boy, is no where in the movie.

As long as there will be start-struck callers on television programs going Ga- ga over mediocre/ semi-mediocre performance of such Movies…….kannada movies will never get on track.

May be “ EDUCATED “ actors, directors & critics who can “ THINK” is what our Industry needs now.


Blogger Rags said...

hey hema..good post..keep writing

9:26 AM  

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