Life, lottery and mechanics of humanity

Dakota Picture
Kannada (U)
Cast: Doddanna, Mukhyamantri Chandru and others
Director: N Omprakash Rao

Antony, the village drunkard, has won the lottery. A fact, suspected and then confirmed, only by agent Lachanna who tries to keep the winning amount for himself, particularly after he finds out that Antony’s heart has given out, unable to contain the joy.

Problem is, almost the entire village gets to know it and Lachanna is forced to share his booty with all of them. But that is before the Lottery Officer comes down to confirm the identity of the winner and hand over the cheque…

Priyadarshan’s Malamaal Weekly was panned by critics but enjoyed the confidence of the average cinema goer and had a decent run at the box office. But the same confidence is hard to come by here. A self-deprecating title proves ominous indeed! Right from the beginning, the sequences seem stage-managed, albeit half-heartedly. With a fine ensemble, Dakota Picture could have turned into a rib-tickling fare but fails to bring on even a sneer! It’s reverse psychology here with the whole of the parts coming apart whenever thrown together.

Even with someone like Sarigama Viji, dialogues remain words or maybe it’s just the way actors try to gobble them up! Omprakash Rao is unable to pick himself up- both as actor and director. There were plenty of possibilities with a trend that almost squeezed out generations together in the ‘80s till lotteries were banned, at least in some places. Wali’s camera sticks to the film’s budget, while ensuring that Malamaal Weekly is not forgotten. Kannada villages are hard to be found these days and Dakota… mirrors that harsh reality very well. Most of the plot is more diluted than a few-days old saaru but picks up pace, literally towards the end!

Among the actors, Chandru, Doddanna, Raju Talikote, Shashi Kumar, Mandeep Rai and others put up their hands but Nikesha Patel is utterly miscast—even in a cameo!
The Rockline-Omprakash Rao combo fails to foist their no-brainer comedy on the viewer successfully this time. If only more time and attention were bestowed on the screenplay!
Dakota Picture remains just that.

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