Rishab strikes gold in Kasaragod

Rishab strikes gold in Kasaragod

A scene from Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shale Kasargod

Film: Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shale Kasargod

Director: Rishab Shetty

Cast: Anant Nag, Pramod Shetty, Ranjan, Sampath, Mahendra

Stars: 3.5

Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shale Kasargod (SHPSK) is a children's film on surface but on the whole, Rishab Shetty's third directorial venture achieves something bigger. The film uses the power of nostalgia to allure people of all ages.

SHPSK is poetic when it shows school life, which speaks volumes about Rishab's attention to detail. And the way Cinematographer Venkatesh Anguraj captures the lifestyle of Kasaragod is very soothing.

SHPSK is innocuous fun in the first half partly because of the great performances. Praveena's (Ranjan) track of the "loser in academics" trying impress his crush Pallavi is delightful. But it is Sampath and Mahendra, as Praveena's best buddies, who provide the laughs and leave a pleasant aftertaste.

The film doesn't lose control when it deals with its subject — a high school in Kasaragod is in danger of shutting down. The Kannada community fears a loss of identity.

SHPSK appears brutal in its fight to save Kannada. There is enough chest-beating about the topic but Rishab thankfully brings a semblance of rationality with smartly written scenes. For instance, Pallavi's father asserts that there is no harm in learning a new language (Malayalam) but that it shouldn't happen at the cost of losing one's mother tongue.

The helplessness of the people when the government orders the closure of the school forces them to think of violent remedies. But Rishab takes the easy route to end the conflict and that's where SHPSK slumps a bit — in its predictability.

Anant Nag enters the scene as the little ones' hope and we know how the film will end. The scenes leading to the climax are weak but you won't complain as you have an actor like Anant Nag to carry them through.

The film's climax is sure to garner whistles.

SHPSK, like Rishab's previous Kirik Party, has great music and involves good drama. Vasuki Vaibhav's music is a revelation. Songs moves the story forward and seldom do we find a film such as this where all the numbers equally soothing.

A film on language by a team that understands the language of cinema is what SHPSK is.