With films like Siddlingu, Neer Dose, and Petromax, director Vijayaprasad has been successful in addressing critical issues with enough elements of humour. His latest, Totapuri, follows a similar template, and offers a genuine parody of caste, religion, and faith.
The narrative is underlined with philosophical thoughts, and introspects on how caste or religion is becoming a hindrance to peaceful coexistence. The story begins with Ere Gowda (Jaggesh), a farmer and a tailor, who specialises in Totapuri designs. He is in love with Shakeela Banu (Aditi Prabhudeva), a banker.
After much thought, both decide to marry and decide to inform the elders, which also forms the crux of the story. Totapuri, as a fruit, is placed as an important aspect at various intervals. The other important characters are Donne Biriyani Rangamma (Veena Sundar), who runs a military hotel, Nanjamma (Hemadatt), who assists Ere Gowda at his tailoring shop, Victoria (Suman Ranganath), a nun.
The director uses three different characters coming from different religions to narrate the story with nuggets of wisdom. However, an overdose of double- entendre dialogues dilutes the core topic, and some lines make it uneasy to sit through.
The entire first half is spent in the introduction of the characters, which also extends to the latter half of the story, as they also give a peek at a new character coming in Part 2 of Totapuri. For senior actor Jaggesh, playing Ere Gowda seems like a cakewalk, but it is a first-of-its-kind role for Aditi Prabhudeva, and she has played her part well.
Hema Datt, Veena Sundar, Dattanna, and Suman Ranganath among others have followed the director's vision. Music by Anoop Seelin and cinematography by Niranjan Babu captures the mood and atmosphere of Totapuri appropriately. No doubt Vijayaprasad has his own set of fans who like his way of writing or telling a story.
But it is also time for the director to get out of his comfort zone, and bring in newness, without giving up on his signature style. We hope he strikes a balance between serious issues and comedy in the second part. Will the new character played by Dhananjay hinted at in Part 1 be the trump card for Part 2… let's wait and watch.
Cast: Jaggesh, Aidti Prabhudeva, Suman Ranganath, Veena Sundar Hema Datt,and Dattana
Director: Vijaya Prasad