Bhinna: Kannada’s first direct-to-web film is gripping

Bhinna deals with mental health problems and marital discord.

With two films under his belt, Adarsh H Eshwarappa has developed a style of making women-oriented thrillers.

In his world, you aren’t forced to feel sympathetic to the women characters. You don’t get an in-your-face message about women empowerment either.

Adarsh puts his female leads at the centre of the story and gets down to business right from the first shot. What you are served is an engaging (and not an overly emotional) experience. Plus, you are left with many important questions about social problems.

In his directorial debut ‘Shuddhi’, an American woman arrives in India to execute a cold-blooded revenge mission. In his new film ‘Bhinna’, the first Kannada film to be launched directly to a digital platform, Adarsh takes no time in launching the intriguing story of aspiring actor Kaveri (Paayal Radhakrishna).

‘The broken are different’ is Bhinna’s tagline and it’s apt. The characters are far from ‘perfect’. The film deals with mental health problems and marital discord.

Adarsh’s fine writing keeps you invested. For instance, the infidelity theme is treated with shocking honesty. Kaveri gets into an affair with the husband of the woman her husband is having an affair with.

A good chunk of the film’s 90-minute run-time involves all four characters talking in a house, completely aware of their doings. The openness can leave you gasping and you are gripped by the well-written dialogues.

‘Bhinna’ is technically superior to Shuddhi, which was shot on a small budget.

Jesse Clinton’s background score enhances the suspense-filled mood. Adarsh, who is also the editor, brilliantly cuts the scenes, helping the film grow into a rivetting thriller.

The film’s story is inspired by Puttana Kanagal’s classic film ‘Sharapanjara’. But thankfully, ‘Bhinna’ doesn’t offer a chest-thumping tribute to one of Kannada cinema’s greatest directors. Instead, it is poetic and subtle in showing its respect and love for Kanagal. The placement of images, songs and visuals that remind you of Kanagal’s works are a pure delight.

It was a small yet special reward when Shuddhi completed 100 days at a single screen in PVR. After it was streamed on Netflix, the response to the film was better. The encouraging response from the OTT platform is perhaps what prompted Adarsh to go in for a direct online release.

It is also impressive to see Adarsh not getting into the ‘commercial’ mode after a critically-acclaimed debut.

Once your first film gets noticed, it is easy to speed dial a big film.

But Adarsh, it appears, believes in the age-old adage of ‘small is beautiful’ and delivers, yet again.

 

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