Kerege Haara is a traditional folktale of north Karnataka which glorifies the sacrifice of a young woman for the sake of her village and her heart-broken husband following her.
Though some filmmakers have tried to adapt this folktale for cinema, it is writer-turned-filmmaker Baragur Ramachandrappa who has done a decent job of it. Bhagirathi, based on Kerege Haara is relevant at a time when our water bodies are being despoiled in the greed for land.
Bhagirathi (Bhavana) dreams of a tank for her village and inspired by her, Maadevaraya (Kishore), the son of Mallanagowda (Srinath), convinces his father to construct one for the community. When Maadevaraya and Bhagirathi fall in love, class differences come in the way.
But when they decide to end their lives, Mallanagowda is moved to solemnise their marriage on the tank's site.
As fate would have it, the tank remains dry and the priest advises Mallanagowda to sacrifice of one of his daughters-in-law. The lot falls on Bhagirathi. On learning what has happened to his young wife, Maadevaraya ends his life in the tank.
In his linear narration, Baraguru has reinvented, re-evaluated and reinvented the popular folktale. The film speaks on the need for the state to ensure the protection of water bodies and the communities' right to access them.
The film refrains from portraying anyone as a villain, conveying that everyone is a victim of value systems bound by tradition and blind belief.
Being a writer, Baragur depends more on dialogue than visuals and brings gender issues to the fore through the conversations between the king and the queen, and Maadevaraya and Bhagirathi.
The cast is very good, V. Manohar's songs fresh, and Harish Sondekoppa's cinematography sumptuous.
Cast: Kishore, Bhavana, Taara, Hema Choudhury, Padma Vasanthi, Srinath, Shivadhwaj, Ravishankar, Vatsala Mohan
Director: Baragur Ramachandrappa
Keywords: Kannada cinema