Men, maiden and mind games

Ring Road
Kannada (U/A)
Cast: Nikita Thukral, Khushie, Avinash, Duniya Vijay, Padmaja Rao, Kishori Ballal, Sagar Puranik, Shrunga
Director: Priya Belliappa
Rating: Above Average

Hyped as an all-women enterprise, Priya Belliappa’s Ring Road turns out to be pretentious and frivolous.

The film has its focus on the psyche of a woman caught between being true to herself and accepting societal dictates. Tracking a real-life tragedy, Priya Belliappa works to put in perspective the inner workings of a girl who spurns her betrothed, becoming his maiden of death. One must admire Priya’s acumen in exploring the external and internal goings-on, wherein alter ego Kushie eggs on an otherwise reticent Suma to be true to herself and give wings to her fantasies. On the other hand, Suma — who is controlled by the regimental rigours of her mother, grandma and criminal-lawyer father, and is expected to toe societal mores — fights the devils within her. It’s up to her whether to revolt or resign to her fate.

Narrated in fictional docudrama fashion, Ring Road sidetracks into other attendant issues — Rekha infuriated with her neglectful cop husband Khan pursuing the murder; a besotted Kiran drowning himself in liquor with Suma hardly acknowledging him; celebrity stars providing their take on marital matters... There are several such misgivings in scripting and narration.

Where subtlety and seriousness was demanded, Priya Belliappa goes for consumerist kill, complete with wet songs where Kushie is dressed up a la lingerie ads. All these needless digressions never get into the meat of her sensitive subject.

Ring Road fails as a film that would have wowed the discerning. Still, with all its pitfalls, the movie must be visited by men and women for introspection of relationships where mutual compatibility matters.

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