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Puneeth and Parvathi in 'Prithvi'

Coming after ‘Raam’, ‘Prithvi’ may initially seem an anti-thesis of entertainment. To begin with, the hero is married off pretty early, without even the formulaic wooing. However, a glimpse of something different is seen when it is the heroine who proposes first. There are no rousing speeches; punching dialogues are rare and tend to stick in the memory. Jacob Verghese’s ‘Prithvi’ is gripping cinema minus histrionics. The tale of a civil servant making the system work in the face of adversity is captured in all its harsh beauty. The barren landscape in and around the ‘famous’ mining regions of Bellary, people who are not self-conscious in front of a strictly professional camera and unobtrusive music are all add-ons.

Tackling several issues simultaneously, Jacob has not lost focus on his story which is a huge plus point, along with detailing. His characterisation and narration are pleasing. The first half seems to be over in a jiffy without missing on key points. The interval raises expectations of an exceptional film, which is not the case in the second half. Having got Power Star Appu to bend to the demands of his story, the director allows the superstar some leeway and the story turns slightly filmy. But that’s what cinema used to be, back then. Backed by a skillfully crafted screenplay, the director takes the story towards a positive end, which doesn’t affect the overall impact. His choice of actors is also sensible. Parvathi and Puneeth complement each other. John Kokin stands out, without being overtly menacing. Rajashekhar’s action is another attraction. Overall, a brilliantly made film.

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