A hostage drama that leaves you misty-eyed

Act 1978 review: A hostage drama that leaves you misty-eyed

Yajna Shetty in the film

Act 1978 (Kannada)
Cast: Yajna Shetty, Pramod Shetty, B Suresha, Achyuth Kumar, Avinash, Sanchari Vijay, Shruthi, Sudha Belawadi
Director: Mansore

Rating: 4/5

Pregnant Geetha turns into a human bomb, with explosives strapped to her belly and a gun in her hand. She brings the government to its knees with demands that appear inane, but are important to her.

An idealist who does not want to pay a bribe, she is made to run from pillar to post to get the compensation due for her. She eventually decides to take things into her own hands. In her words, “For today, this is the right way.”

The Karnataka Civil Services Act of 1978 protects government officials from dismissal. This law is misused by many, and results in injustice to common people all the time. The movie holds a mirror to the system.

Even a TV reporter, who bluffs and peddles fake news, gets to tell her side of the story.

The movie starts with a philosophical song that comes to life with Satya Hegde’s breathtaking cinematography. It is a montage of common folks presented in a way no other Kannada film has so far. The web of corruption and apathy in government offices, farmer suicides, the plight of women — all come together in this powerful visual drama.

The story is the hero here, and of course, Yajna Shetty, who plays the protagonist, is another. Quirky dialogues and unique narration are among the other winning points. Director Mansore has lived up to expectations.

Towards the end, the movie leaves you moist-eyed if you can connect with Geetha. The climax punctures your dreamy world of possibilities and brings you back to the real world. The background score, by Bakkesh Ronada, is just what the riveting hostage drama needed. This movie, the first in theatres after the Covid-19 gloom, is worth a watch.