They say Kempiruve or red ants can kill even a mighty elephant, and director Venkat Bharadwaj has aptly drawn parallels between the insect and middle-class people. The movie conveys a hard-hitting message that if you push helpless people too far, they rise with courage that cannot be tamed.
Bharadwaj lets the audience into the-middle class lifestyle including its shortcomings. He works with a well-though-out plot and manages to create a unique product that has universal appeal.
Venkatesh Murthy (Dattatreya), a retired middle class man, is subjected to abuse at home. He then loses the money he gets from his provident fund account and the savings of his late wife.
Shown as a resident of south Bengaluru, his best moments are spent at a park with his friends. He is the clever ‘fox’ among the lot and his wisdom catches the attention of Damu (Umesh Banekar) and his boss Naidu (Laxman Shivashankar) who run a real-estate agency. The duo lure the elderly man with a job offer that pays good money. Murthy, to regain the respect of his family, takes up the job and even earns well.
Unfortunately, his happiness is short lived because he gets to know of the duo’s dirty tricks. He is framed for their wrongdoing and is trapped. The story starts to get interesting and we find out if he falls prey to their deceit or manages to prove his innocence, and this is effectually and intelligently narrated. In parallel, the director also narrates the story of an unemployed youth Guru (Shreyas), who gets a low-level job and then is drawn to the goons.
Venkat Bharadwaj’s Kempiruve is fiction but manages to mirror real-life and how the real-estate mafia and middle-class people operate. The 2 hours and 7 minute long movie is realistic and thought provoking, and is easily relatable to a large section of the audience. The highlight of Bharadwaj’s movie is the perfect characters he has brought in to play, and every role is tailor-made for the respective actors.
Dattareya, who plays the lead character and senior citizen, is perfect for the role. He leads the film and its various elements like a line of ants. You cannot miss the brilliance of Laxman Shivshankar, who plays an antagonist and real-estate mediator. His mannerisms add life to his character.
Thirdly, young actor Shreyas does justice to his role and gets the viewers thinking about unemployed youth. Sayaji Shinde, Umesh Banekar and host of other actors make their presence felt.
The cinematographer has followed the director’s instructions to give a neat picturisation. The film comes with a couple of meaningful songs by Nadhu Jabezz, whose background score gels well with the theme.
Kempiruve is a film that reflects the team’s dedication, and its few flaws can be overlooked. Though it is meant for multiplex audiences, it is a total ‘middle class’ fare. Watch it, especially for Dattanna.