If ten films from ten different Indian film industries release on a Friday, at least six of them will be romantic comedies, the rest of them will belong to categories such as: crime thrillers, coming-of-age dramas, erotic horrors.
Once in a blue moon, a hyperlink film releases, and positive reviews start pouring in for the film from the word go. The awesomeness that the film receives in the form of Reviews, Facebook statuses, and Tweets is more for the format than for the actual storyline, or performances.
The one super-loved and probably the most popular hyperlink film is Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Mani Ratnam’s Aaytha Ezhuthu, too, is my favorite in the genre. A hyperlink film uses its narrative to unfold certain events of unrelated people who are associated to the central theme. The latest Kannada movie, Kahi, starring Harisharva, Krishi Thapanda, Suraj Gowda, and Matangi Prasan is a step forward in terms of exploring genres in Kannada cinema.
The four leads have two sides to them. Harisharva is a teacher and a drug peddler. Krishi Thapanda also says she’s a teacher. In her heart however, she’s a writer. Suraj Gowda who looks like an updated version of ‘Doodh Peda’ Diganth says he has assignments to do. Just when you think he is an arrogant student, the camera shows his psychopathy. Then there’s Matangi Prasan, a dancer-cum- kleptomaniac.
The director, Arvind Sastry, gives each of his leads a sticky situation – how they behave in a given situation defines their true character. For example: Matangi Prasan doesn’t think twice before looting an old couple for her needs. If you think her heart is filled with multi-colored cobblestones, you’re wrong. She loses her smile when she comes to know that her dog has gone missing. She might steal money from a couple she is fond of, and have no qualms in doing that. She will not give a damn about the welfare of the couple, yet, she’ll get worried if her dog goes away. Do you see the duality in her character? These are the features of Sastry’s people.
With these sorts of layers, the writer – director chooses to make his characters believable and vulnerable.
The bitterness is not only in the title. It’s in the writing and presentation, as well.
Sisyphus’s story is discussed somewhere in the middle of the film. If you want to know why Sisyphus makes an appearance in a Kannada film, take a moment to digest this: Krishi Thapanda successfully reroutes the Sisyphean theory with an act she ‘willfully’ commits.
The mythological tellings state that Sisyphus was made to roll a boulder up a hill. Then again, the boulder would keep coming back to him. This tale is painted with a philosophical brush to explain the state of Krishi’s mind. Krishi and her husband are trying to have a baby for almost three years. The results haven’t been in their favor at all. She has absolutely no health-problems in getting pregnant. Maybe, her husband is the person who should get his semen analysis done to figure out the actual matter. He doesn’t cooperate much though. He either has a superiority complex, or he is sure that he needs medical help, but he feels shy to go to a doctor.
Krishi manages to wrap her head around this whole new topic. That’s precisely the time she gets tumbled into a car by the psychopath.
What do you think is going to happen now?
Sisyphus tiringly rolled a boulder up. It didn’t do him any good. Likewise, Krishi’s husband hasn’t been productive enough to get her pregnant. She has been building up fire in her belly with these thoughts. The filmmaker doesn’t let her life meet the mythological character’s fate. So, when the psychopath kidnaps her, she makes a mental calculation, and, keeps mum while the predator sexually preys on her.
Nothing can get Kahi-er (bitter) than this.
Written by - Karthik Keramalu