This Pulikeshi cuts a sorry figure

This Pulikeshi cuts a sorry figure

Veera Pulikeshi
Kannada (U/A)
Director: Ma.. Baa..
Cast: Bharath, Ravishanker and others

Historical/mythological figures have, till recently, resonated in the collective consciousness with actors of varying calibre and ability doing their bit in etching the ‘past’ on young, receptive minds with varying degrees of success.

The last such success – commercially at least – was Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna, which is still screened for select school audiences some place or the other.

Much before Rayanna came, people like the Palegara of Chitradurga, and much much earlier, Immadi Pulakeshi (also called Pulikeshi), the Dakshinapatheshwara who stopped the rampant armies of Kannauj ruler Harsha from running amok in South India – among the first such ‘struggles/fights/ battles for independence’ and the like.

Thespian Rajkumar brought this Chalukyan ruler of Badami to life as only he could, getting entire generations reacquainted with another of our heroes, his valour and love for his motherland/ kingdom and people.

All of which flash painfully across the mind while watching this week’s release, Veera Pulikeshi. Unlike his cousins Chiranjeevi or Dhruva, Bharath Sarja’s debut goes all wrong, as the audience is left with loads of what ifs.

Veera Pulikeshi reeks of inept execution of the narrative, already weak, thanks to a crammed script. Good actors are wasted or hindered by atrocious dialogues that are misplaced to say the least. Another blow is trashy camerawork. Bad lighting can be blamed on poor budgetary allocation but angle placements? Chandan-Vijeth’s music rots under weak light and poorly conceptualised song sequences.

These things snatch away whatever plus points actors, including debutant Bharath, Padma Vasanthi, Rekha, Ravishanker and others, have to offer. The efforts put in by Bharath are evident, but not sufficient. He has some way to go in getting his body language and dialogue delivery right.

Rekha tries mightily to add glamour but is truly, totally wasted. It is left to Ravishanker to squeeze some interest out of a near-lifeless script, his rendering of Prachanda Ravana, Kamsa or Hiranyakashyipu – a case of too little, too late – like the kusti fight and garadimanes in Mysore.

For, this story too had the potential of Singham-Kempegowda, to say the least. The fight between brazen goondas and upright police officers is yet to outlive its welcome. The editor though gets the maximum votes of sympathy.

Trust Uncle Arjun will take a hand in Bharath’s selection of roles in future.

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