Of greed, desires & destruction

Of greed, desires & destruction

aa kaarala ratri

Film: Aa Karaala Ratri

Rating: 3.5

Language: Kannada (A)

Cast: Karthik Jayaram, Anupama Gowda, Rangayana Raghu

Director: Dayal Padmanabhan

Director Dayal Padmanabhan breaks no bones about it. He has done it before and he does it again. Be it Haggada Kone or Actor, Dayal Padmanabhan believes in a brand of cinema that marries economics and aesthetics, ensuring that both the discerning audience and the fan club have their fill of cinematic experience.

Aa Karaala Ratri continues in the same streak. Padmanabhan, with his nifty narrative style ensures that his audiences are in thrall. That he has been able to script such a film from a play that is little longer than 20 minutes is laudable.

Aa Karaala Ratri, which is set in the 80s and takes place in the backdrop of a single night, tells the story of an impoverished family from Chikkamagaluru. The head of the family is a wayward drunkard called Muthanna. His wife Gowramma is a mute witness to her husband's wayward ways. Their daughter Mallika is a daring and difficult young woman, lusting for life while frustrated that her youth is being wasted.

The status quo is broken when a handsome Channakeshava arrives in their midst and seeks residence. When Mallika begins lusting after the mystery man, Channakeshava keeps her at a distance.

When Muthanna cannot return a loan that he has availed, the landlord asks for Mallika instead. At this point, Channakeshava steps in to help the family: he leaves them with a suitcase, a Pandora's box, that becomes the family's decimation.

Aa Karaala Ratri stands out for its nativity, rawness of language, minimalist narrative style and cinematic devices. Thematically, it explores lust, greed and desire, and how these can reduce an individual to utter destruction and to forego basic human values.

The film is ably supported by P K H Das's cinematography, Ganesh Narayan's haunting background score and good ensemble performances, prominently that of Anupama Gowda as Mallika. Also, watch out for the climax — Padmanabhan is going to pull a fast one on you!

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