When ghosts' dream goes awry!

Lights Camera Action
Kannada (U/A) ¬¬¬
Director: N Gurudarshan
Cast: Balu Nagendra, Archana Reddy and others

In 1981, the Philippines First Lady Imelda “Steel Butterfly” Marcos ramrodded the Manila Film Center, a project to house the national film archive in Manila, with help from the Unesco.

Based on a futuristic design, the building soon became one of the island nation’s finest displays of its cultural heritage, suppressing a horrible tragedy that occurred a few months before the center’s opening in which 169 people were buried alive in dry cement after a portion of the building collapsed. Rescue teams could do little, allowed access to the accident site nine hours later, while authorities squabbled over a press release.

Gandhinagar has its share of backlog. Films which rarely come out of the “dabba” or so pure that it is safely assumed that viewers are better off avoiding them. Given the clamour for allowing dubbing in the industry, the plight of such film makers, old and new, cries for immediate attention, to say the least.

For, not all films are vomit-worthy. Many ideas wither, thanks to lack of budget. By the time the film nears completion, the dreamer in the director would have died a painful, silent death or transformed into a shrewd businessman, looking only for his next few meals.

Lights Camera Action comes with promise. Debutant director Gurudarshan with his team of theatre artistes uses the Film Center tragedy as a backdrop to demonstrate the futility of persisting with dreams even in the netherworld!

That the person responsible for the monstrous cover-up is still alive while her photo hangs in one of the rooms during a scene is a morbid reminder of the times we live in, if we choose to heed it. Coming to the technicalities, Guru, Shivashankaran, Rishikesh Hari, Hithan K T, Thirupathi Reddy and the film’s art team deserve a pat or two on the back.

Shorn of gloss and glamour, the film shot mostly in natural lighting, worms its way into the heart slowly. The actors are rarely pretentious except in the beginning while trying to act by the book. The hero too is guilty of assaulting the viewer’s ears often. Yet, the overall effort is credit-worthy, the director’s ingenuity in making use of limited resources to achieve cold horror (which, by the way, turns into horror at their plight).

Prakash-Mahesh’s dialogues too are rooted.

Lights Camera Action deserves a proper dekko, notwithstanding lack of publicity, the hero of any venture these days.

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