The wanderer gets no relief

Kannada (U/A)
Cast: Yogesh, Radhika Pandit, Raju Talikote, Rakesh Adiga, Umashree and others
Director: Santhu

Yogesh and Radhika Pandit in Alemaari.

First it was Madesh, then Vijay Prasad and now it’s Santhu.  What’s common to the three directors?. All the three directors can take credit for moulding the actor that Yogesh has now become.

After whetting the appetite with his bindaas acting in “Hudugru”, Yogi did a turnaround in “Sidlingu”, matching performer Ramya quite well. With “Alemaari”, he proves that this new-found maturity is not a flash in the pan. The still reed-thin actor is comfortable in his own skin, is not unnecessarily angst-ridden and is not afraid to experiment with his looks and mannerisms as required by the role.

As Mohan and later as the shell he is reduced to, Yogesh delivers a ‘bhale hudga’ performance, his dialogue delivery slowly making way to measured pauses. Kudos to Santhu. Right from the very first frame, he gets cinematographer Manjunath M Nayak bring out the stark reality of present-day rural Karnataka, not-in-the-face, but easing the viewer gently into his story. The action sequences are not over the top but quite riveting.

Santhu’s evocative lyrics blossom in the rich vales of Arjun Janya’s tunes. Manju Mandavya’s dialogues lack punches but still pack  enough power.

However, the film’s pace is a dampener. The first hour of the film is a breeze. Santhu seems to wake up later and tie up the loose ends of the film – be it the fate of Rakesh or Adi Lokesh. Also, making use of Kasaravalli’s previous gem “Kanasemba Kudureyaneri” speaks of gross misjudgment of audience sensibilities.

Rakesh turns in a surprising performance as today’s youth easily gone astray with misguided ambitions. Nayana, as Shruthi, is good too. Raju Talikote,  supports Yogesh well.

A patient viewer however waits for Radhika Pandit’s impressive talent to lift the film and boy, does she deliver! The climax scene is worth several seetis for her class act as a young mother caught between her duty and her love. But by then the whole drama is over, leaving only lingering sadness and dissatisfaction behind. With the underworld as the backdrop, director Santhu recounts the tale of a wanderer and lets him remain so, all his life. A rootless existence finds resonance in “Alemaari”.