Kavaludaari Kannada Movie Review – Ondanondu Kaaladalli

Bangalore! A city that elicits both sighs of nostalgia, and exclamations of disgust at the mention of its name. But like every other city, Bangalore too ended up burying its share of skeletons on the journey to becoming Bengaluru.

Hemanth M Rao who made his debut in 2016 with the impressive Godhi Banna Saadharna Mykattu shifts tracks to make a neo-noir thriller set in Bengalooru, but will Kavaludaari be able to keep audiences glued to their seats the way Godhi Banna did?

When a road widening project over the remnants of a lake ends up uncovering the skeletons of a family, it ends up causing an upheaval in the otherwise uneventful lives of three unconnected men
• Shyam (Rishi), a young traffic cop who is frustrated with his job, and wishes to solve crimes rather than collect fines from traffic violators
• Muthanna (Anant Nag), a once formidable Crime Branch Inspector, who now wallows in an alcohol induced haze, brought about by the deaths of his wife and daughter, but is still haunted by his failure to crack a murder case in 1977
• Kumar (Achyuth Kumar), a down on his luck tabloid owner, who is desperately looking for that one elusive story, that’ll make him a force to reckon with, in spite of his daughter (Roshni Prakash) disapproving of his profession and the perils it brings along with it

In the 1st half, Kavaludaari slowly builds a tale around a rather unsavoury discovery, and takes us into the lives of the 3 main characters connected with it, only to up gears in the 2nd half with absolute finesse, leaving the audience at the edge of their seats wondering if the mystery of the 3 skeletons will ever be solved?

Hemanth M Rao who’s just coming off the success of AndhaDhun (He was a co-writer), brings in that very same neo-noirish sensibility here, and manages to create a compelling story around some very complex characters. However, one would point out, that the character of Kumar doesn’t feel as well-developed as that of Shyam, Muthanna and even some other pivotal roles in the movie. But, it’s just a minor quibble.

Rishi, who shot to fame with his comic turn in Operation Alamelamma, is perfect as a young cop who is grappling against a system determined to turn him on the road to cynicism. Achyuth Kumar makes the most of a slightly underwritten part, and adds some gravitas to the character of what might have been an otherwise stereotypically slimy journalist.

But as always, the star of the show is Anant Nag, who just goes about playing his part, and stealing the show in every sequence he’s in. Not enough superlatives to describe his part.

The soundtrack by Charan Raj complements the movie perfectly, with Nigooda, Ide Dina and Samshaya being the pick of the lot.

To sum it up then, Kavaludaari is a well-narrated crime thriller that doesn’t set out to re-invent the wheel in its genre, but sticks to the basics and does a bloody good job of it.

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