Simple life crushed under greed

Simple life crushed under greed

Case no: 18/9
Kannada (U/A) ¬¬¬
Director: Mahesh Rao
Cast: Nirranjan, Sindhu Lokanath, Shwetha Pandit, Abhishek, Rangayana Raghu

A simpleton orphan who is forced to eke out a living on the pavement, an innocent yet morally strong maidservant oblivious to his attention, an equally smart but clueless schoolgirl on the cusp of adulthood and a more brazen and devious brat of a collegeboy.

Case no. 18/9 revolves around these people, their lives and their moments. While doing so, it quietly goes about exposing the ruthless hypocrisy of a system so inured by imbalance in justice dispensation that it does not hesitate ruining potential futures.
Remake of the critically acclaimed Vazhakku Enn 18/9, this one is a performer’s dream come true. A fresh main cast goes about its job with seasoned aplomb. True, Sindhu’s character speaks very little and the actress’ voice is still childish. But the director uses it to the film’s advantage. Her expressive eyes and restrained body language add to her performance. Shwetha Pandit goes one up on her; the Kannada Bigg Boss contestant is an interesting study. A diligent student, her reading of a righteous teenager in perpetual turmoil is bang on. Abhishek, who plays the spoilt son of a single mother with clout, is confidence personified. He gets the menace just right in crucial scenes while projecting pretended innocence. The actor who plays the hero’s friend is also an excellent find, his irritating quirks dissolving into endearing mannerisms. As for the hero, Nirranjan
channelises the hapless simpleton effectively and becomes the symbol of today’s squashed and crushed common man bearing the brunt of a cruel and greedy society which thinks nothing of snuffing out lives to gain its end.

Girija Lokesh, Marina Tara, Kari Subbu, Mico Nagaraj, Rekha V Kumar – all seasoned actors, their action speaks naturalness, a refreshing departure from the high-brow depiction of realism in several recent Kannada films. With Raghu, it is another rare occasion to simply sit back and savour his performance--kudos to Mahesh for that. His famous, and irksome, hamming is absent. Instead, the cool craftiness surfaces in the police cell scene, providing fuel for Sindhu’s action towards the end.

Case no. 18/9 stands out for several reasons. Sabha Kumar’s camerawork is excellent, Arjun Janya revives spirits with his score and Deepu S Kumar is so mindful of his scissors, the impact created by the secondary leads is maximised, leading to a rather tame climax, which appears so mainly because it comes out so naturally! 

Nirranjan’s lament, Sindhu’s shining eyes, Abhishek’s sneer, Shwetha’s body language and Raghu’s quiet competence linger long after the case is closed. Case no. 18/9 is a no-nonsense warning to parents of precocious children out there who are either unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. Will the society pay heed?

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