'Kotee' movie review: Dhananjaya shoulders this tale of sincerity and struggle

However, the journey towards the fulfilment of such aspirations is not without its challenges, as circumstances stand in his way.
A still from the film
A still from the film

Like a galvanic boost of wisdom, director Parameshwar Gundkal's (Param) Kotee echoes the time-honoured proverb, ‘Honesty is the best policy.’ It stresses that sincerity and hard work not only fill pockets but also nourish the spirit, making Kotee (Dhananjaya) an exemplar for every middle-class family.

Supporting his mother, brother, and sister, Kotee, living in Janatha City, carefully deals with financial decisions, such as those regarding bank loans and expenses like the purchase of a refrigerator. At the same time, however, he dreams of establishing his own cab service.

However, the journey towards the fulfilment of such aspirations is not without its challenges, as circumstances stand in his way. For example, under Dinoo Savakaar, a local don, Kotee finds himself reliant on Savakaar's truck for his business.

Proud of Kotee's sincerity, Savakaar also seeks to manipulate him for personal gain, tempting him with words like "Gundege Edigya?" (Do you have the guts?) And when Kotee would patiently reply, "I've never asked you to cease your harmful actions. You don't request that I initiate them." However, will Kotee fall prey? What leads him to Rs 31 lakh credit, and can he repay it?

Moksha Kushal plays a chartered accountant named Navami, who is entangled in Kotee's life through frequent cab rides. With a penchant for stealing during life's hiccups, she adds another layer of complexity.

What catches the attention of the audience is Kotee's determination to settle his debt and reclaim his lost dignity. Once scorned by life's challenges, Kotee turns the tables, facing his struggles head-on. Every twist and turn, every moment of triumph and challenge, enriches the plot.

In his debut film, Param blends family drama, thriller, and romance craftily. His adept narrative creates a story brimming with humour, sentiment, unexpected twists, and songs, including one anchored by a recurring tiger dance. Drawing from his television background, Param's transition to film is commendable, though a sharper focus on pacing could have enhanced the experience.

Daali Dhananjaya anchors Kotee with his portrayal of a middle-class man with a penchant for ice cream, dreams, and familial love. His portrayal, marked by patience and integrity, elevates the film, painting a compelling portrait that draws audiences deeply into his world. Ramesh Indira's portrayal of a cunning villain adds depth to the character, elevating it beyond that of a typical antagonist.

Moksha’s performance as a kleptomaniac girl adds emotional depth but doesn't quite sync with the story. Similarly, Rangayana Raghu’s brief yet impactful role showcases his versatility but feels disconnected from the family drama. On the other hand, Kotee's family and Dinoo Saavkar are well-written, while Tara embodies maternal complexity with nuance. Prithvi Shamanur and Thanuja Venkatesh, and their relations with Kotee, showcase the complexity of human nature, enriching the sibling dynamics.

The film’s sync sound dubbing is well executed, with Vasuki Vaibhav’s music and Nobin Paul’s background score complementing the theme. Arun Brahma’s cinematography captures the essence of Kotee intimately. Param’s script and direction, bolstered by Dhananjaya's stellar performance, make Kotee a triumph.

Despite its flaws, the film offers poignant episodes such as Kotee's peculiar habits and a satisfyingly unexpected ending. Like its protagonist, the film strives for greatness, albeit not always achieving it, yet its sincerity resonates, making the journey worthwhile. The film’s strength lies in its honesty, portraying a principled struggle against life’s challenges without reverting to tergiversation.


Director: Parameshwar Gundkal

Cast: Dhananjay, Ramesh Indira, Moksha Kushal, Tara, Shamanur, and Thanuja Venkatesh

Rating : 3/5

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