Films with heartbreaks and pain see wider acceptance

Films with heartbreaks and pain see wider acceptance

Recent Kannada movies like ‘Dia’ and ‘Love Mocktail’ and older films like ‘Sanju weds Geetha’ ride on sentiment

‘Love Mocktail’ (2020) is a coming-of-age drama.

As the final credits of Nagashekar’s ‘Myna’ rolled, a college student, who had occupied a corner seat, was crying inconsolably. Words of comfort from many went in vain. It didn’t matter to him that he had only watched a work of fiction. This was an incident that took place at the iconic Veeresh theatre seven years ago.

A film’s primary objective is to entertain but heartbreak, pain, separation and death have found greater acceptance than stories with happy endings. Despite knowing that they will be left in despair, why do people love romantic tragedies? Metrolife explores.

One way to look at it is that we unwittingly take our places in the story. Just as we laugh and understand the central characters, we find a cathartic relief in feeling emotional. We are so drawn to heartbreaking conclusions that we keep going back to the genre.       

In Kannada cinema, the last decade has shown the audiences’ strong affinity for romantic tragedies. With the entire nation in a lockdown, people are forced to watch films on OTT platforms and two of the Kannada films that have created a buzz is ‘Dia’ and ‘Love Mocktail’. Loss of loved ones is the crux of both the stories. Though far from perfect, they have a lot going for them.

‘Dia’ (2020) explores the complexities of a relationship.

*Spoiler alert*

In ‘Dia’, a love triangle, the script takes expected turns. It’s unfortunate to see filmmakers still separating a couple with an accident. The second surprise is when the first lover returns, which was easy to guess. ‘Dia’ struggles initially because some ideas work only in the director’s KS Ashoka’s (6-5=2 fame) head. Similar to voiceovers that lack strength.  

Ashoka’s triumph lies in the mature treatment of the genre. The role reversal before the courting is refreshing. When was the last time in Kannada did we see a girl desperate to express her feelings for a guy? The film’s focused approach avoids the typical annoying friends of the hero or the unnecessarily stuck up father of the heroine.

This film becomes an emotionally impactful film in the second half. The performances come together well. The film explores the complexities of a relationship — is it love or friendship? And the ‘mother-sentiment’ angle, usually seen through the melodramatic lens by Kannada directors, is handled with grace.  

The other film, ‘Love Mocktail’ is a typical coming-of-age drama. The films’ conflicts are weak. For instance, in the second love story, the girl decides to walk out of the relationship because the boy isn’t financially stable enough for her. This is after falling in love for his ‘nice’ and ‘decent’ personality.  

The ease at which the third relationship starts off is ridiculous. The girl agrees to get married at one go. The filmmakers might defend it saying it’s a new way of proclaiming love but the idea isn’t convincing.

However, it’s still a highly watchable film. The warmth of the characters and the humour keep you hooked. Milana Nagaraj is the film’s biggest strength. She plays Nidhi who is mature but has a child-like attitude. It’s a challenging role for any actor to play this role but Milana does it well.  

Sanju Weds Geetha 
was released in 2011.

The film, directed by Darling Krishna, is also nostalgic one. The childhood love story is admirably real and is a lesson on writing about children and delivering good performances by them.

Now the significant debate on social media is if the films really had to finish on a tragic note.

In ‘Dia’, Adi (Pruthvee Ambar) counsels Dia (Kushi) that ending one’s life isn’t the ideal solution. Later on, unable to handle two setbacks, Adi ironically commits suicide.

What the film could be saying is that you understand the magnanimity of the problem only when you go through it. Also, the innate goodness of all three characters makes it difficult for the director to be unfair to just one of them.

‘Love Mocktail’ packs in all elements of a feel-good film and towards the end of its journey, anything apart from a tragedy would have come across flat. After rightly blending childhood nostalgia, friendship and love, the only away to finish off on an arresting note and leaving an aftertaste was to bring in death.

In the previous decade, Nagashekar’s ‘Sanju Weds Geetha’ (2011) and ‘Myna’ (2013) were blockbuster hits.

Nagashekar is someone who mistakes good concepts for good cinema. He banks on exotic locales and soulful music, writes female characters only to draw sympathy and the villains in his films are generic.

Both ‘Sanju Weds Geetha’  and ‘Myna’ were anchored brilliantly by the female leads Ramya and Nitya Menon, respectively. Otherwise, the films leave you with a heavy and depressed. It’s tough to look back these films with fondness.

‘Mungaru Male’, in 2007, inspired upcoming filmmakers to explore this genre. And the Ganesh-starrer still remains the most convincing romantic tragedy in recent times. Yogaraj Bhat is Sandalwood’s numero uno in depicting heartbreaks at every relationship he crafts.

‘Paramathma’ (2011), which shows a journey of someone who follows his heart, leaves you with a satisfied smile. The poignant ending doesn’t feel out of place. That’s the real success of a romantic tragedy.


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