Bearding the lion with minimum fuss

SI Kempegowda finds out that Kavya (Ragini) has lied to him and takes her to task. Kavya then opens her heart, leaving the ‘tough’ cop dumb-founded. Actor Sudeep peeps out of the character, but only for a fleeting moment. With Kempegowda, director Sudeep has finally managed to control his superstar persona, reason enough to watch this tale of a small-town cop taking on the might of a super-don.

With Suriya’s Singam providing a solid cushion of a story, Sudeep allows the director in him to flourish, muzzling a near-arrogant actor.

Kudos are also due for newcomers Anil, Shreekanth and Vishwa who know their business pretty well. The dialogues carry weight through sheer economy. Fringe roles get their rightful share of the limelight and do impress, like Tara for instance. Editing accelerates the film’s pace.

Composer Arjun explodes in bursts of brilliance that is sometimes masked by ‘formulaic constraints’. Yet, the ‘hale radio’ song deserves a pat.

Cinematographer Krishna’s ‘first’ exposure to an action film is betrayed only in lighting up a few frames. For the rest of the time, the camera follows the trajectory of the bullet, the thudding palm, the jerky somersault and the shoulder-view of the hunted villain in the climax. Splendid job! Only a sharp eye can make out the fake night-light when the hero first encounters his heroine. Graphics is still a double-edged tool.

But director Sudeep doesn’t allow these small niggles to hamper his campaign to wow the viewers. Crisp dialogues that are NOT loaded unnecessarily in the hero’s favour and not jingoistic are a pleasure to follow. The screenplay is not tinkered with.

Kempegowda serves up a quick, wholesome meal. Time to gobble it up.

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