The Kannada film, Kantara (meaning "Mystical Forest" in the Southern Indian language- Kannada) has been the talk of the town on social media since its release in PAN India.
The Kannadathi in me was eager to experience this film in the theatre rather than waiting for it to release OTT, and boy was it worthwhile! I'll explain why (No spoilers).
Written and Directed by the star of the show, Rishab Shetty, and produced by the reputed Hombale Films banner (Known for their blockbuster films in Kannada like the KGF franchise) the film (based on true events) opens In a small tribal village in coastal Karnataka and unravels the story of Panjurli (An animist spirit worshipped by the locals - more specifically worshipped in the Tulu regions of Karnataka and Kerala) how the deity spirit is worshipped and conquers the evil that sets forth to its worshippers in the land regardless of any form it shows up in and how the role of the deity Panjurli changes the life of the Protagonist and the people around him.
The story starts simply while delving into the life and character of the protagonist Shiva (Rishab Shetty) which is like a puzzle unsolved. As the film progresses, each piece fits into its place and things begin to unravel and make more sense.
Just like the title of this post says, this film starts slow and simple but brews stronger with time until the climax, which leaves your mind blown and chills down your spine.
From the beginning, each scene involving the protagonist builds your curiosity while putting together the puzzle pieces and bringing out more depth to the character and the people around him.
There are no words to describe the climax and ending scenes as it's purely to be experienced in the theatre for the most impact to be possible. However, the entirety of the film unravels a real thrill at the end which is worthwhile.
Rishab Shetty, the one man that holds the film together and pulls it off with power and grace, is undoubtedly talented and a powerhouse!
The music and background score are praise-worthy as it plays a key role in bringing the film together, and are thrillingly engaging. Every scene taken was shot beautifully, and the humor in the film has a very natural element to it.
I especially enjoyed the little details and morals the film depicted to its audience connecting it to our way of life and how it affects our being today. That connection makes the film stand solid and tall amongst all the glory and thrill it already possesses.
I have to say that it's not easy to bring about such magnitude, emothe tion, thrill, and awe from a simple story like this one but the entire team pulled it off with such ease, grace, and beauty that you'll never forget and won't regret! It takes so much intense research and dedication to ensure that people do not take offense from the depiction of the cultural scenes in the film, and they managed to carve a perfect and magnificent take for every scene.
In simple terms, this film leaves a trance in your mind that does not leave even after exiting the theatre. Some may understand the depth and moral values the film depicts, while some may not and that's okay.
Hence I keep mentioning that it is a very simple story that doesn't have a huge plot line to expect as you would for highly praised films off late, yet leaves a great impression once everything unravels at the climax and ending (which will not disappoint). So when you enter the theatre for this film or are watching it for the first time on OTT (once it releases) do not expect anything and go with a clear and open mind to experience it fully.
A kind note to the audience to experience this film with clarity and fairness by not encouraging pirated releases anywhere. It is to be experienced in full clarity - especially in the theatre - if not, it's best to wait until the legit OTT release, just to enjoy the complete package the film has to offer while making it fair for the efforts put in by the team.
Also, certain scenes and acts depicted in the film are of sentimental value to the Tulu/Karnataka community, hence do not encourage memes or any "jokes" in the name of those sentiments out of respect. Thank you!
Let me know your thoughts about the film if you have watched it too!