Right from the time of Vikrant Rona's announcement, the vibes surrounding the project were overwhelmingly positive. This was the first collaboration between Sudeep and Anup Bhandari. Sudeep's flair, sophistication, and style met Anup's originality in the film, which also starred the filmmaker's brother and actor Nirup Bhandari.
There was a lot of hype with the trailer, interviews, and songs, and after watching the film, it is clear that Vikrant Rona has indeed risen to the occasion.
With Sudeep in the titular role, Vikrant Rona is a page-turner that takes us a few decades back to the remote village of Kamarottu, which surrounds a rainforest. The village with a sordid secret has unexplainable events happening, which are attributed to the supernatural. Aparna Ballal (a) Panna (Neetha Ashok) arrives in the village with her Mumbai-based family. We are also introduced to Sanjeev Gambhira (Nirup Bhandari), the long-lost son of the village head. Then we have the entry of police officer Vikrant Rona (Sudeep), who is accompanied by his daughter Guddi. The film runs on two parallel plots while the attention remains on a haunted house with a mystery surrounding it. Every person living in the village is looked at as either a victim or a suspect.
The mystery unfolds in the second half when all the dots are connected. Will Vikrant Rona finally succeed in achieving his mission comes with frequent twists and turns, keeping the audience intrigued and ending with a surprise climax.
Anup, who brought in a fresh approach to murder mysteries with Rangitaranga, retains much of these elements in Vikrant Rona too. The thriller, which also comes with spooky effects at regular intervals keeps the audience engaged, with every move of Vikrant Rona and Sanjeev Gambhira being under the scanner. But the soul of Vikrant Rona is Guddi. You should watch the film to reason it out.
Of course, there are loopholes in the film, and the reason behind the revenge plot is believable but takes too long to get to the point. Some scenes are left inexplicably incomplete.
Although Sudeep owns the frame with his trademark style of mass elements, it is interesting how he has placed complete trust in the vision of Anup. Sudeep shoulders the commercial entertainer by delivering an excellent performance.
Nirup's performance is on point, and Neetha Ashok shines too as she makes a successful transition from tele serials to films. Milana Nagaraj's role is small but is very effective.
The film is technically brilliant, and Shivakumar's artwork is one of the biggest highlights of Vikrant Rona, a visual spectacle, which has also been released in 3D. Anup's Rangitaranga collaborators DoP William David and composer Ajaneesh Loknath too elevate Vikrant Rona at all the right times.
Although Vikrant Rona might remind us of Anup's own film, it does stand on its own merit, and with Sudeep in a completely new avatar, this will definitely pull in the audience.
Cast: Sudeep, Nirup Bhandari, Neetha Ashok
Director: Anup Bhandari
(This story originally appeared on cinemaexpress.com)