Rangi Taranga (2015)
- Written by Anup Bhandari
- Directed by Anup Bhandari
Rangi Taranga - Movie Highlights
Kannada cinema is coming of age and is now on par with other industries. With films like Lucia, Ulidavaru Kandante, U-Turn, Godhi Banna Sadharna Mykattu, Jatta, Eedigaarike and now RangiTaranga, of late, the industry infused with fresh blood has been throwing up some interesting and engaging films. But a parallel industry with same old formula and tricks runs which needs to improve to overall change the image of the Industry but commercial films like Kirik Party and Rajkumara have done the needful. RangiTaranga (Colourful Wave) which comes in as whiff of fresh breeze to Sandalwood (Kannada Film industry) is a complete genuine effort by bunch of newcomers. It is one among those movies that elevate the standard of an entire cinema industry. Upon theatrical release, the film opened to overwhelmingly positive response from critics and got big thumbs up from the audience as well. It is one of the best mystery thrillers to come out in recent times. Apart from universal acceptance, box office success, its rights have been taken up by one of the most prominent names of Bollywood, Ashutosh Gowariker, which sums up the value of the film.
The film tells the story of Gautam (Nirup Bhandari), a writer who writes his novels in the pen name of 'Anaskhu' and his pregnant wife Indu (Radhika Chetan), who paints all the cover pages of his novels, living, in Ooty. Indu is persuading her husband to visit her ancestral village in Kamarottu, a fictional village in the Tulunadu (Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka) to perform a ritual (Bhootaradane) to ward off evil spirits of which she has been having nightmares. Sandhya (Avanthika Shetty), a journalist and a filmmaker is in search of this writer and she sets out to find about him. But when she lands in Ooty, Gautam and Indu have left for Kamarottu. Upon arrival in the quiet village, Gautam befriends the post master Kalinga (Saikumar) and a school master Shankar (Ananth Velu). Strange incidents start happening in and around the house which makes them to believe it to be the act of some paranormal beings. It is further confirmed by Kalinga that Brahmarakshasa (devil) resides in the well and the house is haunted by a ghost (Guddada Bhoota). Gautam who does not believe in all these starts investigating the matter which irks few people of the village where by he is attacked by unknown persons injuring him. Meanwhile, Sandhya too arrives in the hamlet, while Gautam is worried when Indu goes missing one night. And when police declare that in fact Indu has died 6 years and all this time Gautam was hallucinating that his wife was with him, it leaves him baffled. What is the mystery behind Indu's disappearance and why the past of Gautam holds clue to his present? What's so mysterious about this small quiet village where on a particular day of every year the pregnant women are murdered and who is responsible for it forms the crux of the story?
Rangitaranga, a mystery thriller brings in a new wave to the Kannada film industry that should propel its fame to its previous glory. For Kannada Cinema the success of this film should hopefully inspire many more filmmakers to attempt original, refreshing content like this. After trying his hand at short films, the writer-director took inspiration from Kannada Television serial of the 90's Guddada Bhootha and weaved a story around it. The intriguing story is very fresh, rich and vibrant. The film breaths freshness with no huge star cast and the script remains top priority. The story in itself is very good and there are quite a few good things about the film apart from the story. As a thriller, it keeps the audience engaged right from the first frame and with every scene you are glued to the screen and guessing the mystery for more than two hours. It is a film that will demand your undivided attention throughout its run time. First half of the movie sets the tone by introducing the characters, establishing the premise which dabbles in the realm of superstition and the spirit of the dead. The twist at the interval (though mildly predictable) is surprising and sets the stage for something bigger. The second half is to uncover the mystery with lots of twists and turns to keep you engaged. Technically it's the best film in the recent times for Kannada film industry. Soaked in rich folklore culture and traditions of Dakshina Kannada (Karnataka), it's visually breathtaking with stunning cinematography by Lance Kaplan and William David. It is one of the major highlights of the film. Fantastic background score by Ajaneesh Loknath that enhances the intensity of the visuals and totally elevates the experience of viewing. The music is another plus point for the film. Anup Bhandari who has also scored the music and written lyrics for the same does a great job. Be it the fun number Akka Pakka, the soulful Ee Sanje, or the recreated Dennana Dennana (which brings back the memories of Guddada Bhootha) and Kele Cheluve (a Yakshgana style song is the highlight of the film) are good.
Also Rangitaranga is a good movie but it just stopped short of being a great movie. It starts as a supernatural thriller but post interval the unnecessary plot twists of mistaken identity, sand mafia and the shift in its genre from supernatural to murder mystery drag the film. The film all of a sudden wants to add many genres in itself which deviates from its main course. There are many questions left unanswered which leaves the viewer disjointed. Though all the songs are good in themselves but are out of place in a suspense thriller especially in the second half. The pace also slackens which tests the patience. If only the pace was faster, it would have made for a fantastic film. The editor here makes the mistake of not chopping unwanted pace which slows down the proceedings. The ending is abrupt, after building the tempo so much right from the start, a small fight sequence does not satiate the hunger. Like most movies, the first half is great; but the second half disappoints.
Since most of the actors are newcomers the characters they play become believable. Nirup Bhandari looks good and for a debut, he is pretty convincing. As Gautam, he shines, with his baritone and good presence. The female leads are not just mere props but play very important role. Radhika Chetan and Avantika Shetty, both are natural and pleasant to watch. But it is the veteran actor Sai Kumar as Postmaster Thankabail Ravindra Bhat who steals the show. There is no doubt that it is a role of a lifetime for the actor.
On the whole Anup Bhandari excels in both the script and the direction department giving one of the polished products which will be remembered for a long time to come!