Gurudev Hoysala: A compelling cop Drama highlighting caste issues

For a long time, Kannada filmmakers have avoided caste-based crimes as the core subject of their films, especially in commercial entertainers.

Published: 01st April 2023 10:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st April 2023 10:24 AM   |  A+A-

A screengrab from the official trailer of Gurudev Hoysala. (Credits | Youtube)

Express News Service

For a long time, Kannada filmmakers have avoided caste-based crimes as the core subject of their films, especially in commercial entertainers. Sensitive as it is and complex with its many facets, not many filmmakers boldly showcased their understanding of this subject. With his film, Gurudev Hoysala, director Vijay N seems to qualify himself in the league of those filmmakers with the spunk to explore and justify the subject even when mounting it as a true-blue commercial potboiler.

Going beyond just cursory depth, Gurudev Hoysala gives an insight into the social issue of caste differences along with intense action, and a mysterious plot that will have you on the edge of your seat. While the director has designed a gutsy script, he also sheds light on a cop’s life, and his humane side. The film begins with the titular song, Sala Sala Hoysala, introducing Gurudev Hoysala, an upright police officer, who gets posted to a town in Belagavi, where he is investigating the case of a missing police officer Bhargav. He has a face-off with the sand mafia and in the course of the investigation, he meets love birds Nataraja Mayuri (Bhoomi), and Ravi (Aniruddh Bhat). Gurudev helps them get married, but he soon realises that they belong to different castes. 

Upon instructions from Bhoomi’s father Daada (Avinash Andrews) and a senior police officer (Rajesh Nataranga), Gurudev starts searching for the eloped couple. From here the story takes a twist leading to a case of honour killing. Through a series of interconnected events — the hierarchy of the upper and lower caste, local gangsters, corruption, inept police officers, and conspiracies — the film reaches a predictable climax.

Vijay N, who last directed the romantic drama Geetha, takes up a hard-hitting subject that raises some important issues. However, the story meanders a bit, and there are unnecessary scenes fitted into the narrative. Though the film ends on a bright note, the climax could have been more convincing.
With the beauty of nature wonderfully captured by cinematographer Karthik S, the background score by Ajaneesh B Loknath is grim, gritty, and grey. The dialogue by Maasti adds to the essence of the story. Stunt scenes by Dhilip Subbarayan and Arjun Raj is a treat for action lovers.

Dhananjay, who has been trying on different characters, fits into the character of an angry young cop and leaves a strong impact in his 25th film. His character seems infrangible, but at the same time has emotional limitations, which Dhananjay emotes with elan. Equally strong performance comes from Naveen Shankar, who gives life to his role as antagonist Bali. He fits the role of a menacing villain and his face-off with Dhananjay is a sequence to watch out for.

Mayuri Nataraja and Anirudh Bhat are the souls of the plot, and both upcoming talents have justified their roles. Achyuth Kumar, and Raghu Shivamogga, who are seen alongside Dhananjay throughout the film, add value to the cop drama. Amrutha Iyengar’s role, in short, makes us understand the challenges one goes through being a cop’s wife.  Prathap Narayan and Avinash Andrews highlight their respective roles, with a lot of support coming from junior artists. Nagabhusahana, in a short role, breezes with his comedy character. Gurudev Hoysala, a cop drama is relevant, compelling, and will spark conversation.

Gurudev Hoysala
Director: Vijay N
Cast: Dhananjay, Amrutha Iyengar, Naveen Shankar, Prathap Narayan
Rating: 3.5/5


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