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Kantara – A surreal movie that deserves to be watched and applauded

Kannada movie industry needs more such films and the future looks promising. The captivating visuals of the last fifteen minutes will stay with you for a long time. Kantara - Surreal.

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Regional cinema is taking Indian movies to the next level. It’s simple! India should tell Indian stories. God bless Rishabh Shetty and may he continue making movies like Kantara. With people like him around, the culture and heritage of this land will not only survive but flourish. How I wish for a Rishabh Shetty in every state of India.

Kantara works because the story connects with us. The movie reiterates the importance of cinema as a medium and its role in preserving the cultural identities of the multitude of societies that exist in India. This is because, as humans, we always are what our stories tell us to be. Investing in stories like Kantara will keep our sensibilities rooted in the ethos of the land and prevent us from pandering to the westernised constructs of modernity.

Kantara, (Sanskrit word for Forest) speaks about forest conservation and the dire situation of the tribals, caught in the crossfire between the authorities on one side and the greedy landlords on the other. The movie also explores the worship of Daiva and the practice of Kola. More specifically, Panjurli Daiva and Guliga. Divine and benevolent spirits who take care of their people but are also wrathful towards their conniving acts.

The setting of a Kola is graceful and energetic and to witness it live is an experience that will stay with you. Rishabh, the actor, effortlessly portrays the protagonist, Shiva, with a conviction, which I believe, comes from his love and respect for the traditions of his hometown and its rich cultural heritage. It cannot just be an act. Especially, the last twenty minutes of the movie. The transformation was surreal.

What also stood out was the ease with which he performed the demanding physical action sequences. Be it the Kambala (buffalo race), the plenty of action sequences, and the climax portions, in which Rishabh displays rare flexibility and rawness that is unique to him. His angst, anger and fears connected with the audience at many levels.

Rishabh the filmmaker, in Kantara, weaves a rich fabric laced with exquisite locations, unadulterated language, and earthen humour that is wonderfully entertaining. The character actors are all brilliant. Achyth Kumar as Devendra Suttur is riveting. Kishore as Forest Officer Murali is another powerhouse performer. The female characters do their job but could have been better.

Technically the movie is fantastic and the team deserves all the accolades that are pouring in their way. Kannada movie industry needs more such films and the future looks promising. The captivating visuals of the last fifteen minutes will stay with you for a long time. Kantara – Surreal.

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