The last couple of years have been pretty good for Kannada cinema. We have seen a willingness to shake off the cobwebs of the last decade and a half, when the average viewer was starved for some substantial entertainment and had to sit through endless mind-numbingly mediocre movies, only occasionally offset by the rare gem like Aa Dinagalu or Just Maath Maathalli. Therefore, it is highly disappointing that in a year that has seen some brilliant releases like Rangitaranga, Kendasampige, Naanu Avanalla Avalu, Aatagara and First Rank Raju, one has to also contend with the kind of mediocrity that a promising actor like Yash brings to the table with something like Masterpiece.
Masterpiece starts off on an interesting note, with the hero’s mother (Suhasini) being interviewed about her son’s rather interesting activities, and how she wants him to face society with courage and honor like Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Veer Savarkar. But Yuva (Yash) is a ne’er-do-well who lives life by his own rules and wants power at any cost. Yuva and his best friend Bruce Lee (Chikkanna) get sucked into politics by Noor Ahmed (Achyut Kumar), and in the middle of all this, Yuva also ends up falling for the bubbly Nisha (Shanvi Srivastava) who woos him in the weirdest manner possible. Then one day, Yuva clashes with the eccentric drug lord Boss (P.Ravisankar) and his life takes a new turn from there.
Now there is nothing new in this story, but if the writing by Manju Mandavya (who is also the director) had focused more on moving the plot forward, and less on living up to Yash’s Rocking Star moniker, and also the rather crass comic subplot with Chikkanna, it would have still been a fun watch. But instead, all we see is a homage to Yash, and the rest of the cast is pretty much relegated to the background. Technically the movie is slick, but when there is no meat on screen, one does end up losing interest in whatever is going on. Add to that, the terribly jarring soundtrack by Harikrishna, and it is a painful experience.
Yash is his usual self in the movie with lots of wisecracks, lots of swagger, but not much acting, which is a pity as the lad is a phenomenal talent. Shanvi Srivastava shows glimpses of the fact that she is more than just a pretty face, but sadly the story expects nothing more of her than to act like the stereotypical loosu ponnu. Veterans like Suhasini and Achyut Kumar are criminally wasted in terribly underwritten roles. As for P Ravisankar, it is a testament to the man’s talent and screen presence that his entry received more applause and whistles than that of the leading man, however he is slowly becoming to Kannada cinema, what Prakash Raj is to the Tamil, Telugu and the Hindi industries, the hammy comic villain stereotype.
Judging by the hype, and the house full boards all over, this one’s on its way to making some serious money for its makers. But unless you are a hardcore fan of Yash, one would say you’d be better off watching Star Wars instead.