Kannada films have been making waves in the regional space for some time, but it is only recently that they started getting their due from the masses. The most recent flick to take the critics by storm is Kantara. And, being honest, it is only the hype that made me watch it when it was released in Hindi.
The film is around 150 minutes long and promises a unique concept. It has been hailed by many reviewers as a masterpiece, further grabbing my attention. Now, since I have watched it, here’s my Kantara review.
Kantara Review Summary
A staggering background score and bewildering performances lead Kantara and fulfill your urge to soak in an action-filled adventure. However, don’t expect anything out-of-the-box.
Kantara Synopsis (Extended)
The film is based on folklore carrying the following premise:
An ancient king has all the wealth but no peace. In search of the same, he leaves on a journey, and an enigmatic and invisible force of nature pulls the king to the forest. There, he finds a distinguishing symbol (linga) and feels calm around it. Quickly, he surrenders his weapon in front of the linga and requests the villagers to allow him to take the god.
However, just then, the spirit of Panjurli (the god) enters inside a villager and tells the king that he is the god of the villagers, not his. Panjurli then asks what the king will offer the locals if he decides to go with him. The king agrees to whatever Panjurli demands.
Then Panjurli screams tumultuously and tells the king to hand over the land to the villagers to the last acre his voice has reached. The king agrees. However, Panjurli warns him if he ever backtracks on his promise, Guliga will not spare him.
In this context, in the 1970s, a young and fierce Shiva must rise to the occasion when the land of the villagers comes under threat.
Directed by Rishab Shetty, Kantara stars Rishab Shetty, Sapthami Gowda, Manasi Sudhir, Achyuth Kumar, and Ragu Pandeshwar in lead roles.
What Works for Kantara?
The first and the last fifteen minutes of Kantara are the best parts of the film. While the former sets the tempo with intrigue, the latter offers a compelling climax fuelled by action. I will discuss my reservations about Kantara’s ending in the latter half of the review.
It succeeds in leading you into the world of anticipation by building a narrative around the ancient past. And when we are shown an invigorating story from history, we remain attentive, if nothing else.
I didn’t expect Kantara to be humorous, but it did entertain me quite a deal. The personal relationships, social unity, and interesting confrontations further add to the vividly portrayed storyline. You will find the movie pacy and never miss a beat till it stays on the screen.
Kantara has a spooky, mysterious background score that keeps you glued to the screen. Sometimes, the film tries to instill fear, while it is mostly about fascination. Moreover, every beat and rhythm is matched proficiently with the screenplay.
It is, by far, the best thing about Kantara and held me uptight in my seat. You will be able to predict the crescendo, but its implementation will leave you surprised. Moreover, the powerful visuals are to behold during the climax.
The makers have infused intricacy in the making of Kantara that is visible in its screenplay. Every transmission, optic, and movement is taken care of. You will be hooked by how things are presented in this action drama.
Well, Kantara will be remembered for Rishab Shetty. He has written and directed the film, and to top it all, Shetty has performed as a lead. The direction and writing are superb, but the best part is his performance.
How good Rishab is in Kantara is hard to put into words. It’s better that you witness his scintillating discharge of action onscreen. The fierceness, detailing, and aggression are simply superb.
Manasi Sudhir makes a place for herself in Kantara, courtesy of her ability to be swift. She is one admirable actress with chivalrous rudeness as her superpower. Furthermore, I cannot but rave about Sapthami Gowda, who plays Leela in the movie. Her calm persona and delicate vigorousness work pretty well for Kantara.
What Doesn’t Work for Kantara?
If disguising was the aim, Kantara doesn’t entirely achieve it. The film would be a success solely because of its concept, execution, and presentation. Its storyline is good but far from being novel. In fact, an idea like this was brought forward by Suzhal: The Vortex, written and directed by Pushkar and Gayatri.
Coming to the factor of predictability, the events wouldn’t be surprising if you are a regular cine-goer or movie buff. However, I again emphasize the presentation of the climax is brilliant in Kantara.
I think most of the audience wanted the movie to unravel the mystery behind the sacred shrine (linga). Its origins, history, and existential information would have improved things from the audience’s perspective. The ending of Kantara is stimulating but not wholesome.
Films like Kantara are not made regularly. So, if you have the chance, you can watch it. Though there isn’t anything out-of-the-box about its storyline.
What is the meaning of Kantara?
Kantara means Forest or a place surrounded by lush green trees and greenery.