Cast: Dhananjay, Meghana Raj
Director: T S Nagabharana
A film about a mystic poet Allama Prabhu and his journey thro ugh philosophies, this biopic of the social reformer from a senior director T S Nagabharana is somewhat fictionalised.
Allama, from the director’s standpoint, uses sourced material. The film is on the poet’s life, starting from his childhood. How he breaks out from his mother’s clutches only to get an education. There are his few moments with Maaya, who is head-over-heels with the poet’s expertise in mridanga.
Then there is his association with other vachana-saints - Bassavanna and Akka Mahadevi -- and last, in the scheme of things, comes his ideals. In a time when filmmakers are steadily marching towards commercially viable films, Nagabharana’s attempt with a period film should be admired.
The film, which does not lose the soul of the story, resonates strongly with the current audiences because it decodes human relationships. Telling the story of a philosopher’s life without sounding preachy is not easy, and the director has managed it well in Allama.
Having said that, the research done by Nagabharana on Allama and for 3 years does not reflect on the silver screen. A sliver of the social reformer’s life has been explored.
Dhananjay, an established commercial hero, took the risk of doing a period film and he does it well. Reconstructing Allama’s life was like returning to his theatre days, and he has scored in all aspects including with his attire, his body language and dialogue delivery. He has always been a director’s actor. Playing Allama, he has strictly followed Nagabharana’s instructions.
Actress Meghana Raj has limited screen space, but she has done Maaya’s character justice. Lakshmi Gopalaswamy’s portrayal of Allama’s mother is noteworthy and so is Taushir’s as Allama in his boyhood. Sanchari Vijay does not have much scope for performance as Basavanna.
Credit should go to the art director Sashidhar Adapa, who has recreated the era, and cinematographer GS Bhaskar for capturing it. But the highlight of the film is Bapu Padmanabh’s signature music. The various tracks blend well with the film’s mood. Even the background score keeps the 12th Century essence.
If you wave away the historical accuracies and inaccuracies, the film can be watched a tribute to the saint from Nagabharana. It can also make for a beginner’s guide for youngsters who don’t know anything about Allama.