Film: Prithvi; Director: Jacob Verghese; Cast: Puneet Rajkumar, Parvathi Menon, Avinash, Sadhu Kokila, Shrinivasmurthy and CR Simha; Producer: Soorappa Babu; Music Director: Manikanth Kadri; Dialogues: Manju Mandovi.
Prithvi is a slap on the face of the current state of affairs of Karnataka politics, and a coming of age film for Puneet Rajkumar.
What makes Jacob Varghese a director to look out for is taking up the task of convincing Puneet to go in for an image makeover and holding the audience’s attention even thought the script is predictable.
The story underlining the illegal mining activities in the region of Bellary and the use of political power to carry out the trade is a jab at the present state of bureaucratic affairs.
The film starts off introducing Puneet and his family in a song sequence marrying off his sister. This opportunity is taken to show the lead pair's love or rather admiration for each other. Followed by Puneet's induction into the Indian Administrative Services, marriage and deputation as Deputy Collector to Bellary all in quick succession.
Prithvi (Puneet Rajkumar) and Priya (Parvathi Menon) make it to Bellary, where mining is evident is each backdrop. They settle into their house taken care of by a man who doubles up as a comedian. His is one role which the film could have done without.
Puneet's character Prithvi is quick to catch the attention as an honest officer.
His personality has its roots in constant reminders of anti-corruption by his father whom he holds in high esteem.
Prithvi's hurdles are in helping the common man, getting rid of the illegal mining, and finding all the missing people on and off the record. He is at loggerheads with the stalwarts of Bellary. Prithvi befriends people who are honest – an editor-cum-journalist and a cop. The team unearths what would be of relevance to nail the barons. On behalf of the complaints by the barons, Prithvi is summoned by the home minister for an explanation. However Prithvi refuses to oblige.
The second half sees some filmy melodrama, which was so predictable like the scene when Prithvi goes to visit the carnage off his friend the journalist and they way the journalist's wife reacts - it has all been displayed in Kannada cinema.
Prithvi and his family are threatened, but Prithvi never steps back. The villains are agitated and resort to double play and succeed in having Prithvi suspended. In suspension Prithvi finishes his mission.
The director has all his prerogatives right and has handled his ship well. He has roped in the right people to execute each franchise of movie making.
The background score is excellent. However the song sequences slow down the slick and pacy narration. The first and introduction song was a let down but the rest of the songs are going to be heard for some time.
One highlight of the film is the relationship between Prithvi and Priya (Parvathi Menon), something so beautifully showcased that new age couples would want to follow and inculcate. The wife is always a pillar, a shoulder to cry on and a friend. The lead pair's discussions and conversations have maturity as per their age (and the age they live in).
Puneet as Prithvi has done his job well however it looked like he watched a lot of Aamir Khan of the Hindi flick Sarfarosh - not that it was a bad thing to imitate him. Puneet is very graceful as a dancer and does his steps with ease.
The heroine Parvathi Menon has the girl next door looks however could carry off a glamorous role with ease. She gets into the skin of the character and has done her job well but is a little stiff with her dance sequences and barely manages to catch up with Puneet. The heroine was the apt choice but the make-up man could have worked a little better in certain scenes. If not for the camera work more flaws would have been highlighted.
The dialogues have been presented to give a “Jai Karnataka” feel and at the same time criticise the present political scene. In one particular dialogue, Prithvi explains, "we are not like our neighbors Andhra who worship politics and Tamil Nadu who worship cinema and its stars" - something the audience applauded. In another one, a comment on replacing the chief minister set off some sarcastic giggles.
The action choreography evidently displays the overdose of gymnastics; however the post production uses some slower than slow motion to show the villain getting walloped and in a painful manner.
The lighting was not always on par with the scenes and it had its dull moments (sometimes literally).
Only once in a while do you have a film so predictable (the storyline of a cop who cleans up the system and takes a beating but comes out victorious in the end) yet so engrossing that the audience waits to find out the layout of the next scene.
The post production table let out some suave editing and treatment.
A fast paced action thriller. This one you cannot miss.