Hottegaagi Genu Battegagi review: Seasoned Anant Nag saves damp squib

Hottegaagi Genu Battegagi review: Seasoned Anant Nag saves damp squib

Anant Nag and Radhika Chetan

'Hottegaagi Genu Battegagi'

Kannada (U)

Cast: Anant Nag, Radhika Chetan, Gitanjali Aiyar, Sandeep Urs, Priya, Smita Kulkarni

Director: Narendra Babu (Kabbadi)

Rating: **

Director Narendra Babu — who proved he is made of much sterner stuff and trod a different trail with Shivarajkumar's Santheyalli Nintha Kabira — is seeking to rewrite the Sandalwood cinematic idiom. Kudos to that.

But, if one could laud Santheyalli for being original in intent, subject as well and delineations, one cannot say the same about 'Hottegaagi Genu Battegagi'.

It comes as a letdown from a director who had shown ample promise. 'Hottegaagi' is just an inspired, frame-to-frame copy of Robert De Niro's The Intern, except that Babu has adapted it to suit the local milieu. So, you have IT and techie as a workplace setting for this version of Kannadism The Intern.

Shyam Prasad is a retired widower on the wrong side of 60s. And, as Robert De Niro says in The Intern: I am retired and my wife is dead. As you can imagine, that's given me some time on my hands. I miss her in many ways and my retirement is an ongoing relentless effort at creativity. At first, I admit, I enjoyed the novelty of it.

Our own Shyam Prasad has plenty of time at hand, after the publication he was working with goes kaput. He takes up internship with an e-commerce startup in Dubai's Burj Khalifa, run by a no-nonsense and highly individualistic Shraavya.

Young and frightfully forward for the conservative Shyam Prasad, Shraavya is the antithesis of all that the sexagenarian considers as decorum and decency.

Startled by the modern-day generation's outlook at life, Shyam Prasad tries to comprehend the tricky situation he landed up in. The film, thereon, is a subtle exploration of the clash and conflict between tradition and modernity.

From the sanctity of marriage to live-in relationships and infidelities, director Babu explores various situations and how the widower's learning tryst with the enterprising woman entrepreneur works out, and how each of them unlearns several things in the course of their association.

Nancy Myers' The Intern was a tongue-in-cheek, intuitive exploration. But Babu's 'Hottegaagi' leaves much to be desired with a rather placid pace and uneven editing. This, despite a power-packed, nuanced performance by veteran Anant Nag and a matching act by Radhika Chetan as the corporate honcho.