'Kurukshetra' review: Visual treat of epic proportions

Darshan puts up another excellent performance, but his dialogue delivery is average at best. The biggest letdown is Nikhil Kumaraswamy, who is artificial and unbearable as Abhimanyu. 

Kurukshetra 

Kannada (U/A)

Cast: Darshan, Ambareesh, Ravichandran, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, Arjun Sarja, 

Director: Naganna

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The biggest challenge for anyone making a mythological film is the lack of scope for experimentation and improvisation of the theme. The task is made more difficult if the story is from a celebrated epic like the Mahabharata that has too many subplots and characters, not to mention the numerous film and television adaptations.

The success rests purely on how effectively the filmmaker represents the story's values and engages the audience in catharsis. Though it is debatable whether Naganna has really succeeded to this effect, Kurukshetra will undoubtedly remain a daredevil act, if not a classic, in the Kannada film industry.

Touted as one of the most expensive films to be made in the KFI, the highly anticipated epic film is a visual treat with its sheer scale and grandeur.

Though the filmmakers have claimed that Kurukshetra is a story from Duryodhana’s point of view, it is actually a story surrounding him. The first half explains the reasons for an epic battle, while the second half is dedicated to its consequences.

The film is gripping, with viscerally convincing and audacious battle sequences. The resplendent sets, stained palaces and dazzling court scenes are a treat to the eyes.

The movie boasts of a strong cast in stunning costumes. Naganna lets the camera do half the work, leaving the audience to savour each frame.

Though this swashbuckling adventure relies heavily on graphics, it doesn’t lack emotional resonance. The heart of the film lies in the simple thought that good is mightier than evil.

The cast, however, seems to have been unable to handle the mythological content. Though Ambareesh, Bharati Vishnuvardhan and Arjun Sarja bring life to their roles, the rest just disappoint, be it with their body language or diction.

Darshan puts up another excellent performance, but his dialogue delivery is average at best. The biggest letdown is Nikhil Kumaraswamy, who is artificial and unbearable as Abhimanyu. 

The scene between Karna (Arjun Sarja) and Kunthi (Bharati Vishnuvardhan) is sure to bring tears to your eyes. 

Harikrishna's rich compositions aid the narrative. But a song involving Darshan that resembles an item number and a duet with Nikhil Kumar slow the pace. The palace and battle scenes seem to have been inspired by SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Baahubali. This lavish movie is certain to be a crowd-pleaser.

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