A journey of undercurrents and stilted flow

A journey of undercurrents and stilted flow

Mahanadi
Kannada (U/A) ¬¬
Director: Krishnappa Uppoor
Cast: Dileep Raj, Sanjjanaa, Rangayana Raghu and others

A woman is often compared to Nature and, on a closer level, a river eager to join the sea, her destination, which in more than one case, is assumed to be a man. The river’s course is likened to the life journey of the woman, complete with disappointment and hope. Films celebrating womanhood enriched Kannada filmdom, and society, once upon a long time with their sensitivity and finesse in handling the subject.

Now, all sorts of depravities are being played out in darkened theatres with impunity under the guise of cinematic licence or “this is what the audience wants” excuses by film makers who don’t give a damn to the now obsolete concept called responsibility towards society, or in particular, a fellow human being. Or, in an indication of the pathetic state of degeneration of ideas, they come up with farces touted to be realistic portrayals with a message.

Krishnappa Uppoor’s Mahanadi falls into this category. A tale of a fisherman’s daughter who aspires to marry a man from ‘Bombay’, the film catalogues her trials and tribulations after she shifts residence to the metropolis. Clumsily executed, the first few scenes nevertheless bring out at least a whiff of the salty ocean, and backwater, air. But, an ill-suited Sanjjanaa and Sundarnath Suvarna pull the film down as best as they can. A M Neel’s music is the saving grace here but cannot make up for the lack of control of other components. There is an ill-conceived attempt to create a 70s, or even late 50s feel to the film, with large, old currency notes and the like, which stands out like a sore thumb.

Sanjjanaa tries hard but the polished and carefree attitude of the urbanite is hard to suppress, specially after actresses like Jayamala and others played fisherwomen with such aplomb. It is only in scenes involving the two young girls and near the climax that the actress gets it. Dileep Raj has precious little to do other than being just himself. The Rangayana Raghu-Sanket Kashi scenes are a segment by themselves, more coherent than others. Scarlet Wilson of Prem Adda fame registers her presence with another confident jhatka here and a thumka there.

The rest of the cast is one long parade and actors like Muni are wasted in inconsequential roles. This Mahanadi is nothing but a monsoon-fed stream.

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