BANGALORE: Kannada director Suni's long-awaited second feature Bahuparak, following the critically acclaimed Simple Agi Ondhu Love Story, is a more mature effort with intelligent narration by the director that lives up to the brilliance of the imagery. The startlingly realistic picture transcends its dramatic premise to embody, on several levels, a story that is definitely new to Kannada cinema.
The film mostly illustrates the journey of Kitty as lover boy Manas, who finds friendship when he meets childhood friend Sneha and love in her twin Preethi (both played by Meghana Raj).
The protagonist also takes on a parallel journey and becomes Mani, a gangster. This takes him deep into the nightmarish netherworld of crime and extreme violence. Later, he becomes Mouni, a politician, and his life is an altogether electrifying representation of contemporary society.
The film is quite unsettling in many ways towards the end, with fate conspiring against him in an unexpected manner, bringing in an element of cruel wit. The director neither romanticises nor condemns his subjects here but maintains a matter-of-fact approach to the three key personas that results in a fascinating character study.
Bahuparak is an episodic and sometimes haunting film with modest but never overdone touches of comedy, romance and sentimentality. The film showcases clearly Suni's versatility. He is a filmmaker whose style is characterised by cinematic innovation that only a few directors can pull off. He has managed to weave three chapters of the protagonist's life without ambiguity even in the narration. The story manages to hold your interest throughout. The portrayals are far from stereotypical as in other films.
Kitty himself provides the best insight into the characters when he declares 'Oorige obne gowda, filmge obne hero, adu naan agi irabeku' (Like there's a single head for a village, there's only one hero in a film, and that has to be me). He is undeniably talented, and he proves this as he essays the lover boy, the gangster and the politician.
Meghana's performance as the twins is justified. The supporting cast is also good, with the exception of a couple of actors who are reminiscent of stage artistes.
Cinematographer Manohar Joshi through his camera work has allowed the action to unfold naturally between the actors, taking care that cameras don't become obtrusive in the story. BJ Bharath's music is apt for the range of different moods in the film, and every song is meaningful. The track Naanaarembudu Naanalla helps emphasise that all our identities are merely roles we take on, only being human truly reflects who we are. The dialogues written by Hari also have a great impact.
Verdict: Bahuparak is definitely not for front benchers, but a project that marks the beginning of an experimental journey in Kannada cinema.
Cast: Srinagar Kitty and Meghana Raj