The Kannada film industry is truly vibrant. While the mainstream branch of Kannada cinema is learning to be more effective, innovative and ambitious, its indie scene is already exploring different genres, storytelling methods and unconventional stories. And some of the impressive works of Kannada independent filmmakers have found a home at Netflix.
Ondu Motteya Kathe
Raj B. Shetty puts the spotlight on the culture, dialect, and the society that shaped his talent in this film. And that lack of nativity, originality is what made the film’s Hindi remake, Ujda Chaman, a lousy affair. Unlike the Hindi film, Raj B. Shetty has not merely used male pattern baldness of the protagonist to make some loud and lazy ‘bald’ jokes. He provides a POV of a society that has a deep-seated fixation on physical beauty, and the system of arranged marriage, which can prove to be a dispiriting experience for many. The insults and rejections are not dramatic. They are very subtle cues like a prospective bride expressing interest in the protagonist’s younger brother with thick hair. It is also Raj B. Shetty’s personal work, and that makes it hard to mimic it. The title of the movie is a funny improvisation on iconic movie Ondu Muttina Kathe, which is sort of the director’s homage to his favourite actor Dr Rajkumar.
Earlier, movies that spoke about widow remarriage were considered very progressive. And the observation that it is difficult for a woman to live alone without a man’s help sounded so wise. But, all the things that were touted to be pearls of wisdom, pro-progress, pro-women and morally correct lose their shine and how in this movie, which is written by Sandhya Rani. Sruthi Hariharan’s Gowri is still grieving for her husband who she lost five years ago. She wants to stay loyal to her dead husband by refusing to involve with other men romantically. But, her suppressed sexual desire is taking a toll on her mental well-being. She has to deal with her guilt, make peace with her husband’s death and deal with the passive-aggressive society, which is either trying to control or exploit her sexual desires.
This movie is a pure delight. The events that follow the death of a centenarian is the most natural thing you will see on the big screen. Nothing feels forced in this humble movie, including the performances of non-actors. Actors in the movie seemingly behave instinctively, which feels natural but flawed at once. The asymmetrical nature of Thithi is what makes it so charming.
Director Pawan Kumar turned to crowdfunding to make a movie about what on the surface looks like an idiotic traffic violation. But, the consequences of even small violations can be very tragic. It is a supernatural thriller about a journalist’s attempt to find the truth behind a series of mysterious deaths. All people who are dead have one thing in common: an illegal U-Turn on top of a flyover. The journalist who is following the story is driven to a desperate point that she risks her own life to find out the truth.
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