Broadly speaking, Kantara is a story about a savior saving his oppressed community. For as broad as one can go, it is kind of that story. But it is also the story of the oppressed rebelling to save their dignity. There is this whole underlying perspective, which the film slowly injects into you and blows your mind. Here, we review the Kantara Tamil version.
The first half of the movie narrates the legend of a king who donates his whole land to a tribal community. Cut to the present day, we are introduced to the lifestyle of this community. The way they live, the sport they play, their customs and rituals, and the way their landlord (a man from the oppressing community) manipulates them for his own good.
As this community’s story unfolds, we begin to understand Shiva’s (Rishab Shetty) character arc. Initially, he’s the kind of guy who would do as instructed by the landlord. But his anger builds when he begins to see the atrocities against his people. His character transformation happens slowly. He goes into this trance mode every now and then, which is portrayed in an excellent manner.
Several metaphors are also splashed into the movie. For example, the local tribes hunt wild boars. For them, their deity is in the form of a wild boar. Though they hunt them, the film never shows them eating the boars. They only present them to their master. What this implies is that, to the landlord, “their god” is merely a form of food.
The transformation of Shiva’s trance mode has worked brilliantly. In the beginning, he only sees some vision of a boar clad in godly jewelry. He hears these noises but brushes them off as nightmares. During the climactic sequence, he goes into a complete trance mode after being posessed by a godly power. I, for one, had gooseflesh the way the whole sequence unfolded.
The big confrontation scene where Shiva walks into the house of the landlord, sits at the dining table, and eats his food, breaking all the barriers of untouchability, is spectacular, to say the least. During this particular scene, the rousing background music by B Ajaneesh Loknath and the camera work by the Kul Bhushan-Raj B Shetty duo gives us a high for sure.
Besides Shetty, Ragu Pandeshwar (forest official), and Achyuth Kumar (landlord), other actors don’t have much of a role. The Tamil dubbing is subpar—making us connect with the characters slower than we should. Some important portions weren’t even dubbed but only presented in Kannada with subtitles.
One can talk for days about Kantara and not just from a political standpoint. Shetty, who has also directed the movie, keeps giving us metaphors and subtexts which will not be covered with just one viewing. In the end, the audience is left with a high. We go with 4/5 stars. If not for the average dubbing, it would’ve scored a solid 5 stars.
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