Weak tribute to peasant movement

Weak tribute to peasant movement

Naragunda Bandaya
Cast: Rakshith, Shubha Punja, Avinash Bhat
Director: Nagendra Magadi
Language: Kannada  (U/A)
Rating: 2/5

Naragunda Bandaya is reminiscent of movies shot in the 1970s — Sampathige Savaal and the like, with a lecherous zamindar, a morally sound hero, a sassy love interest, and a corrupt police force.

There is an obvious contrast in the quality of living between the farmers and the feudal-lord family that has won the village election.

The crux of the film is the rebellion of the Navalgund and Naragunda farmers against a water tax imposed on them soon after they are provided irrigation after years of drought.

In portraying the plight of the farmers and their acts of bravery, the movie only succeeds in the second half. 

The rest is a poorly executed romantic sequence between Rakshith of Kannada soap opera fame, and Shubha Poonja, his love interest.

The songs are lacklustre and, for absolutely no reason, are shot against CGI backgrounds that are cringe-worthy. My biggest complaint, however, is the cinematography. 

The movie is shot with many unnecessary pan shots and abrupt zoom-ins, enough to interrupt viewers from completely immersing themselves in the story.

Two farmers were killed in a police firing, and they are remembered to this day as martyrs to the farmers’ cause. 

The shoddy writing and filming have done the rebellion — which tipped the scales against the Gundu Rao government in the 1980s — a grave injustice. 

It barely focuses on the farmers and instead lingers on an inconsequential love story. 

The subject still leaves you pondering the consequences of stifling dissent. For this reason alone, the movie deserves a one-time watch.

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