Kannad Gothilla review: The linguistic tangle

Kannad Gothilla

In a little over a month, Sandalwood has witnessed three films that deal with the Kannada pride. Last month, Ganesh-starrer ‘Geetha’, by debutant Vijay Nagendra, had the famous Gokak agitation in the backdrop. This Friday, not one but two films — ‘Kalidasa Kannada Meshtru’ and ‘Kannad Gothilla’ — have the language as their primary focus.

The fear of watching such films mainly comes from their tendency to just do lip service to their central topics. By playing to the gallery, they tend to dismiss complex issues with simplistic solutions. But in a pleasant surprise, debutant Mayuraa Raghavendra (formerly an RJ), makes ‘Kannad Gothilla’ an engaging watch by not forgetting the essentials of filmmaking. He avoids chest-thumping stretches in a crisp flick and makes Kannad Gothilla a winner by adopting a balanced approach to a story that reflects the times we are living in.

The film is set in Bengaluru and it’s impossible for people from here to not know the catchphrase ‘kannad gothilla’. It’s the favourite of Kannada meme-makers. The popular perception of non-Kannada speakers using the catchphrase to avoid conversing in the language has led to the rise of many activist groups, YouTube Channels and blogs that claim to help the migrants learn the language.

In Kannad Gothilla, the city is rocked by rising cases of missing people. It takes the ‘daring’ investigative officer Shruthi Chakravarthy (Hariprriya) to find the common factor among these people: they are all non-Kannadigas. Despite keeping the film in the thriller genre, which requires him to maintain the suspense-filled mood, Mayuraa succeeds in convincingly portraying all the important layers of the subject.

For that, he must largely thank Rohit Padaki’s (Dayavittu Gamanisi fame) brilliant dialogues. Padaki’s lines keep you on your toes. They make you smile and think. The casting is apt too. Dharmanna and Pavan reiterate the importance of good supporting actors in ‘small’ films.

‘Kannad Gothilla’ does justice to Hariprriya’s ability to pull off roles with serious undertones. She is a perfect mix of grace and control, proving once again that a ‘hero’ isn’t a necessity when she is in action. The film is a perfect gift for Harripriya, who tried her best to anchor an underwhelming
‘D/O Parvathamma’, another film in which she played an investigative officer. But in that film directed by Shankar, her role was steeped in stereotypes.

The film’s only blip is Mayuraa’s mechanical writing of the early portions of first-half. The film takes some time to take off.

Eventually, a film that speaks coherently on the need to respect Kannada makes you wonder why it has so less screens for it in Bengaluru. And how strongly it can reach non-Kannada speakers. The real fate of ‘Kannad Gothilla’ lies in the fate of answers to these questions.

 

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