Director: Abhaya Simha
Cast: Mammootty, Poonam Bajwa, Aditya Mohan, Innocent
After a long wait, Kannada film industry is making some watchable films, bordering on good. ‘Shikari’, a bilingual film directed by Abhaya Simha, conveys a strong message on globalisation.
The story revolves around software engineer Abhijith (Mammootty), who falls in love with Renuka, a fictional character from an unfinished novel that is set in 1945. Abhijith goes in search of the fictional character and reaches the village where the author lived. There, he meets the daughter of the author, Nandita (Poonam Bajwa).
The two embark on a journey: Abhijith, in search of completion and Nandita, in search of love. This successfully gives scope for parallels between the current era and the independence era. If the Hindi movie ‘Rang De Basanti’ works with the concept of a movie within a movie to show the contrast and similarities of two eras, here the unfinished novel is used as the canvas.
The film has much to discuss about the independence movement. Through the story, there is juxtaposition of the issue of slavery during the independence era to the elite labour class created by globalisation.
The comparison between the two eras is brought out well by Abhaya Simha. The issues too are depicted well. The actors too have supported the script ably with their strong performances.
While it is good to see Malayalam actor Mammootty enter Kannada film industry with this movie and admire the fact that even dubbed for this movie, his strong Malayalam accent stood out jarringly. His effort to speak Kannada is visible on screen, sometimes upstaging his character.
Poonam Bajwa has a significant role in the film and she has utilised it to make her presence felt with a strong performance. Though actors Mohan , Sharath Lohithaswa and Aditya have only cameo roles, they have put in significant performances.
Music director Ilayaraja has once again proved his mettle and given us melodious music. The art direction team has done stupendous work with the realistic settings, especially in the parts set in 1940’s. Kudos to producer K Manju, who has chosen to make this bilingual film with a good story line, following several commercial films.
Verdict: A whiff of fresh air in Kannada film industry after a long time. Go watch, if only to encourage.