Rangitaranga – Movie Review

Rangitaranga comes as a breath of fresh air for people who watch & follow Kannada films. The hype around the film has been growing steadily, and like ‘Lucia’ has been ably supported in this growth by the Social Media. There have been quite a good number of shows across the globe and the film has earned praise equally from all quarters.

Like the recent critically acclaimed film ‘Ulidavaru Kandanthe’ (Which I personally did not like that much), this movie too is set in Dakshina Kannada (Coastal district of Karnataka, India). The movie also features the local ritual art form called ‘Bhoota Kola’, prominently. Much of the work in the film – writing, directing, composing and writing the songs, have been carried out by Anup Bhandari, who deserves a huge applause and appreciation for this wonderful effort.

Rangitaranga - Movie Poster

Rangitaranga – Movie Poster

The setting in which the plot unravels is beautiful and interesting. And these two aspects of that area has been wonderfully captured into the film by the Cinematographers – Lance Kaplan & William David. Especially the dark parts of the movie give the desired effect with some meticulous use of subdued and minimalistic lighting. Technically the other departments too have done a good job. Notably, the sound department brings life to the gripping climatic sequences. The ritual art form of ‘Bhoota Kola’ has been used to good effect in the film, unlike Uttama Villain (which featured ‘Theyyam’, the equivalent version prominent in Kerala). Performance wise, Saikumar walks away with all the applause (more about that later).

But the movie is not without its faults.

Though the story seems to have been woven with a “Bottom-Up” approach, it worked on screen. The screenplay could have been tighter, whereas it actually introduces a lot of unnecessary characters and subplots. After starting on a high note, the movie kind of slows down and takes numerous unwanted directions till after 20 minutes into post-intermission. Some sharp cutting in the editing room could have made the film more interesting than what it is in its present form. The light humor that is sprinkled along the storyline, too could have been better.

Another noticeable and glaring observation is the “acting” of the lead pair. Nirup Bhandari, the male lead, appears almost with the same dead-pan look throughout the film. One can understand the nature of a mysterious writer who has a past, but dead-pan look is not for that. With the female lead, Radhika Chetan, the problem is to get the right emotions. She either smiles too fast or smiles at the wrong timeline in the dialogue. Case in point is the scene where the two leads discuss about the possibility of the travel to their native village (Kamarottu) and what is supposedly an interesting tit-for-tat written on paper, is completely messed up by the lead pair with some awful timing sense. Though Saikumar’s chaste and stressed pronunciation of Kannada is kind of irritating at the start, the climax reveals the reason for shaping up his character in that way. It is also Saikumar who steals the show and the thunder at the end of the film. Other actors in the film have more or less done what is required and nothing special to write about.

The music is nothing to write about, which actually is a big negative.
Rangitaranga is definitely not the very best in Kannada Cinema. But, it really showcases the immense talent that is available to create some wonderful movies in the language, which has been in a kind of draught since a long time. All credits for Anup Bhandari and his brilliant technical team for bringing such a gripping tale on screen. Hope he has better and more interesting stories to offer to the Kannada Cinema audience. Make sure to watch this on the big screen – the effect would be lost in smaller screens.

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~ by Jayanthan Ravi on September 11, 2015.

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