Kantara honest review: India, that is Bharat, is a civilisational state and not some landmass inhabited after the discovery by some British sailor. We hold the history of being one of the oldest civilisations, that has been lost to some extent, eroded, faced invasions and plundered. Still, we stand today, tall, seeing eye to eye with the world, proud of what we are.
But, tell me what makes us the society we are and feel proud of? It is the culture and tradition. These two basic aspects of civilisation keep the society intact. Our culture that we pass on to our next generation makes us human with morals, as it regulates the conduct of a society. Culture is the lifeblood of a vibrant society like India. Culture can be expressed in many ways like how we tell our stories, celebrate functions, aspects of entertainment, or how we remember the past and imagine the future.
The art called dance
Do you know what are the various dance forms present in India? There are many like Bharat Natyam, Kathak, Kathakali and Kuchipudi among others. These were some classical forms. Okay, now let’s name some state specific dance forms. They can be Chau from Jharkhand, Ghoomer or Dandiya Raas from North-Western region, Lavni from the land of Marathas, or maybe Bihu from Assam. What purpose do these dance forms serve other than entertainment, one might ask you.
Well, the art forms have been a way through which information- messages, historical facts travelled from one generation to another. As art and culture represent the specific learned norms of a society. Art and culture help the traditional ideas, beliefs and values travel. They become extremely important in a nation like India as we get to learn about ancestral values through them. The same can be said for the movie Kantara, which teaches us about the culture and traditions of Dakshina Kannada.
Kantara another blockbuster from KGF Franchise
First came the Bahubali Franchise and then there happened to be a series of south-Indian films that took the nation by storm, be it KGF, RRR, Karthikeya 2, Vikram Rona or Ponniyin Selvan 1. It has been a great year for the South-Indian film industry. The films are earning well not only in the regional or the Hindi belt but also on the global market. It is due to their original content, unique narration style, some really good breathtaking visuals and the most important factor- the protagonist is a larger-than-life character.
Checking all the boxes has arrived, Kantara – a Kannada film written, directed and starred by Rishabh Shetty, produced by Vijay Kiragandur under the banner of Hombale films. It has not been a month since the release and the film has already entered IMDb’s list of India’s current top 50 films. And it is becoming big with each passing day. The film was made on a budget of mere 20 crore.
The film had already become a blockbuster in the Kannada region. However, thanks to the word-of-mouth publicity, the filmmakers were forced to dub it into Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. The other versions are also contributing handsomely and the film has crossed the 150-crore mark. But, which factor of the film has attracted such a huge audience? The film consists of something that won’t go down well with the liberals and they might have begun criticising it.
Kantara will connect you with your Indian roots
Kantara means “Mysterious Forest”. Kantara gets full marks for representing the diverse cultures that exist in the coastal region of Karnataka referred to as Dakshin Kannada by the residents. Singular focus has been laid upon customs like Bhoota Kola (Spirit worship) and Kambala (Buffalo racing on slushy paddy field).
The film’s storyline basically consists of two deities Panjurli (God of prosperity and guidance) and Guliga who is a Kshetrapala (a ferocious protector of field). The plot of the film unravels the fight between the King’s successor who granted land to the tribal in exchange for their deity Panjurli and the tribals, in which the Forest Department has been shown putting efforts to protect the wildlife and trees from hunting and deforestation by the tribals. Then there is Shiva, the protagonist possessed by Demi-gods, who doesn’t care a bit about rules and regulation and is totally devoted to his people.
The film has put singular focus on the popular practice of Daivaradhane and religious practices surrounding demi-gods that are prominent in the southern region of Karnataka. It also showcases how they act as a bridge between nature and humanity.
The film has dedicated the final 20 minutes to Rishabh Shetty’s unforgettable final Guliga and Panjurli act, that brings the audience to the edge and results in goosebumps. The local traditional folk form Yakshagana has also been imbibed beautifully in the film.
The film is rewarding to the culture
If anyone is visiting the coastal region of Karnataka, it is advised to watch the Yakshagana. It is an elaborate dance-drama performance unique to the region. Yakshagana is a rare combination of dance, music, song, scholarly dialogues and colourful costumes. The ‘Singara Siriye’ track of Kantara film is inspired by Yakshagana tunes.
The film talks about some lesser known ‘paddathis’ of Hindu dharma as mentioned earlier like Bhootaradharne, Daivaradhane and Nema. Thus, once again portraying the essence of Hindu Dharma and its diversity. Shetty would have made a regular action thriller; it is only the divine intervention that has elevated the stature.
None can go wrong when you do something to respect the origin. The film has not only well incorporated the dance form of Dakshina Kannada that is Yakshagana, but has also portrayed how India and Indian society used to be. What kind of different belief systems we had, and the type of pious relationship we shared with our land; the reason why even today’s generation calls the earth as mother.
To add on, the southern region of Karnataka known as Dakshina Kannada has a very unique ethos, culture, customs and traditions. The film stands merit in portraying that too, with proper dignity. The film must be credited for bringing out a unique culture of India that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet to the silver screen and weaving the story around it. This has a message to the film industries across the world, ‘The more rooted a story, the more universal it can become.’
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