In the history of Kannada cinema such high voltage technical cinema was never heard. The international standard for ‘Nagarahavu’ in addition to the head replacement theory of actor Dr Vishnuvardhana adopted is also epoch making attempt. PEN Movies deserves kudos for such startling production values. A lavish film is of course ancient in contents and modern in its outlook.
The fans of Dr Vishnuvardhana feel very happy for his nine minutes stay in the new technology in ‘Nagarahavu’. After six years of demise of the legend of Kannada cinema, the technological advancement showing the actor in Thandav Nruthya, action scene etc is a boon to the film ‘Nagarahavu’. The title of the film was also very close to Dr Vishnuvardhana in his career. It is his debut film in 1972 ‘Nagarahavu’ that gave stardom to Dr Vishnuvardhana.
The highly reputed director from Telugu films Kodi Ramakrishna has given a fine preparation for a commercial cinema. The revenge concept mixing the past and present is told in 141 minutes. The high point of this film is undoubtedly actress Ramya.
Manasa (Ramya) is also known as ‘Nagalika’ daughter of Shivaiah. She is in the company of Naga Charan (Diganth) with the pretext of learning music. Her motives and calculations are different. The ancient ‘Kalasa’ in the museum has significance. In her previous birth she has protected this precious ‘Kalasa’. This is the ‘Kalasa’ on the Soorya Grahan (Solar Eclipse) day collect the strength of gods and goddesses. A series of attempts have been made by the demons to capture it. It is Shivayya (Saikumar) handover the ‘Kalasa’ to his daughter Nagalika.
In the social set up now the ‘Kalasa’ is the most wanted thing for baddies lead by Mukul Dev, Amit Tiwari and Ravi Kaale. It is at the dance competition this is presented. The clash is now between Nagacharan and Manasa on one side and three baddies on the other side.
The surprise factor for Nagacharan (and also for audience) is when Manasa explains her past that has a glorious episode connecting the ‘Kalasa’.
It is the career best performance from sandalwood queen Ramya (Divya Spandana). She did not get such a grand and glorious role so far in her career of one and half decades in cinema. The costume selection for Ramya who looks both modern and traditional in this film is another additional value of the film. Diganth looks lively and emoted well at a few places. Ramesh Bhat and Sadhu Kokila veterans have nothing much to do. A title song in the opening featuring challenging star Darshan is booster dose in the beginning. For the magic of technique the audiences have to wait for post interval.
The Makuta graphics is first cynosure in the second half of the film. Recreating Dr Vishnuvardhana is a moment of joy and at the right time the entry of stalwarts gives an expected end. The huge snake formed in CG is attractive and evokes fear.
Gurukiran the best song is in climax. Sung by Shanker Mahadevan is rich in composition. The duet song of Diganth and Ramya is also supported by CG in the film.
HC Venu a veteran in cinematography from the days of ‘A’ Kannada cinema given his best. It is the last Eastman color negative shooting transformed to digital technology. Venu deserves kudos for his patience and perseverance.
Kudos to veteran director Kodi Ramakrishna for a technically brilliant cinema in Kannada!