Hemanth M Rao’s debut, Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattau, struck an emotional chord. In the director’s second outing, he probes the audience’s mental faculties. Kavaludaari is a taut thriller. A sinister murder mystery, it brings to screen intelligent, cold-blooded and amoral beings. The film is also timely with the election season underway as Hemanth, through his film, puts the viewers at crossroads and asks if they are indeed voting for the right candidate.
The film opens with a disturbing scene of cops finding human bones during a road widening project. These bones are said to belong to Gurudas Naidu (Sidhaartha Maadhyamika), his wife Vijayalakshmi Naidu (Samanvita Shetty) and their daughter Vaidehi, thereby giving rise to a lot of speculation around their murders.
Shyam (Rishi) is posted as a traffic cop around the same area as that of the murder. A passionate cop, who is known for his investigative skills, he takes up the case, despite being discouraged by his seniors. When Shyam accidentally meets editor Kumar (Achyuth Kumar) of Lock Up News, he manages to get some vital clues. He then accesses files detailing missing persons between 1970-75, which forms the bulk of the case. It is at this time that Shyam connects with Muttanna (Anant Nag), a retired cop, who was individually handling the case. Now, disillusioned with life, Muttanna has taken to drinking. The case has haunted Mutanna even after he retired, but Shyam convinces him enough to come out of retirement and work hand in hand with the traffic cop, in cracking the case.
The case now unfolds rapidly and armed with clues given by Kumar and with the company of Muttanna, the question is will Shyam be successful in solving the murder? The sacrifices he makes through this journey conclude with the film paying respects to men and women in uniform. Hemanth has taken ample time to work on the product and the end result is a wonderful piece that gives us a glimpse into the lives and work of police personnel. It also delves into the current socio-political scenario mirroring the nature of corruption that exists in society at large. The narration that takes us back and forth, brings to screen every single character who has a history of committing crimes. Hemanth belives that the devil lies in the details and that detailing is one of the film’s high point.
This 144-minute-run doesn’t waver from the central plot. While Rishi makes a lasting impression and convinces the audience with his sombre role, there is more to his character than just being a traffic cop. Anant Nag’s presence only drives it further and leaves the audience asking for more. The picture is complete with Achyuth Kumar, who has an important role to play. The fantastic supporting cast — Sidhaartha Maadhyamika, Siri Ravikumar, Samanvita Shetty — all have an important role in the film and they all do a good job in the flashback episodes. Suman Ranganath as the heroine, Madhuri, adds a glam quotient and Roshini Prakash justifies her homely character.
Charan Raj’s music and songs are infused into the plot, and cinematographer Advaitha Gurumurthy stays true to the film’s theme. With quality products made under PRK, Kavaludaari makes for an intriguing murder mystery. The film’s underlying thought puts everyone at a crossroads about right and wrong and asks them to make the right decisions at all times.