If there’s one genre that Indian Cinema hasn’t really managed to get a grip on, it’s the campus comedy. Most end up being a preachy narrative or an attempt at social commentary (3 Idiots, Nammavar, Student No 1), or an extremely cheesy romantic comedy that seems to be set in a different universe inhabited by designer beings (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Student of the Year, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) and very rarely get the nuances of being a typical student about to face life right (Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi, Wake Up Sid, Premam, Happy Days). However, the promos of Kirik Party promised a simple, sweet and extremely funny tale of a bunch of friends in college and the trials and tribulations they go through on the cusp of adulthood.
Karna (Rakshit Shetty) is a 1st-year student of Mechanical Engineering at the Malnad College of Engineering in Hassan and is already in the process of attaining notoriety as the leader of his batch. In the midst of all his campus misadventures, he ends up falling rather hard for Saanvi (Rashmika Mandanna), a sweet-natured final year student with a streak of altruism in her blood. But fate wills otherwise, and cut to the final year of college, where Karna’s now a rowdy in the making, hot-tempered and prefers using his fists to words, and into this life comes the exuberant junior, Arya (Samyuktha Hegde), who is absolutely besotted by him. Is Karna meant to find love? Will he ever get around to making something of his life?
The first thing you notice about Kirik Party, a few minutes into the movie, is that it gives you a glimpse into what may have happened if the campus portions of Premam had been fleshed out into a full feature. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. From the first scene to the climax, the movie is a journey into the highs and lows of campus life, the laughter, the pranks, the merrymaking, the heartbreaks, the struggles, the sorrows and most importantly, the evolution of a person from a teenager into adulthood, and every little bit of this journey is captured perfectly.
The story written by Rakshit Shetty himself, borrowing from what one might presume are his own experiences, along with his writing team who call themselves the 7 Odds capture almost every little bit, every nuance, every instance about campus and hostel life perfectly, and the dialogues by Abhijith Mahesh and Dhananjay Ranjan are extremely catchy, with some of the lines and situations so funny, and so punchy that they threatened to bring the roof of the theatre down, thanks to the audience’s laughs and applause. It’s no joke, managing to keep the audience’s attention without even one slack moment and the director Rishab Shetty’s managed to pull that off here. In addition to that, the sublime soundtrack by Ajaneesh Lokanath, with Katheyonda Helide , Belageddu and Neenire Saniha especially standing out
After Ulidavaru Kandante, this seems to be the first time that Rakshit Shetty’s managed to really get under the skin of his character, and even though he does look a little too old to be a first year student of Engineering, he manages to make you forget that with his affable performance, and in the 2nd half, he is absolutely pitch perfect as the rebel without a cause. Debutants Rashmika Mandanna and Samyuktha Hegde are absolutely fantastic, the former making you fall in love with her gentle demeanour, and the latter winning your heart with her childlike innocence and energy. The supporting cast, mostly consisting of new faces with Achyuth Kumar being the notable exception are absolutely brilliant, and will stay with you long after you’ve walked out of the theatre, especially the overly enthusiastic Professor who is obsessed with analysing every situation.
To sum it up then, Kirik Party is the perfect way to end 2016, which has been a pretty decent year for Indian Cinema. If you are in the mood for a laugh or a trip down memory lane, go ahead; give this one a shot, for you’ll step out of the theatre with a huge grin on your face.