To a woman, bearing a child starts with the pleasure of conception and ends with the pain of labour. A man who empathises with the mother’s sacrifice is human, whereas he, who fails to look beyond the act of conception, is but a savage. A dialogue in the film, Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (KVJ) brings out this point in a poignant yet powerful fashion, through the words of a journalist Devika (Nayantara) who explains to B. Tech Babu (Rana) her reasons for being passionate about getting the truth out. This broad idea of good prevailing over evil is narrated through the age–old Surabhi theatre — a form that has few takers now. This, combined with a contemporary theme of mining works well. In times when the ‘aam aadmi’ is protesting loud against rampant corruption, a film like KVJ resonates.

B. Tech Babu, grandson of Surabhi actor Subramaniam (Kota Srinivas Rao) is tired of performing, because he sees a dwindling audience and no future. He plans to shift to America, in search of a better life. His grandfather disagrees and believes, ‘Kalaanni marchede kala…’ (Art is that which changes times).The death of his grandfather takes Babu to Bellary, where he also comes to terms with his past. At Bellary, he bumps into Devika and finds himself fighting against Chakravarthy (Murali Sharma) and Reddyappa (Milind Gunaji). After that, it’s just a matter of time before his personal vendetta grows into the eternal battle between what’s right and wrong.

Strong characters, apart from the leads, give great support to the film. L.B. Sriram as the crazed tribal who keeps screaming “Matti lekapote, dochukodaniki emi undadu kada. Teesesta, mottam matti teestesta (If there is no soil, there won’t be anything to loot, isn’t it. I will take it away, all of it away).” This scene works wonders as a measure of soil is thrown at the lens. This symbolism of soil is present throughout the film.

Doused in a pleasant mix of mythology, the film starts off on an ambitious note. Expectations are set high in the beginning when you see a montage of activists, professors and tribals all venting out against Reddyappa, the mining don at Bellary. This is followed by a beautiful mythological drama enacted by Babu and his Surabhi troupe. Remniscient of the bygone era of mythological films, it’s a pleasure to watch Rana and Kota Srinivasa Rao rendering verses in chaste Grandhikam.

Visually, the film is evocative, but the hype gradually lessens. There is a strong message that laces the film. It evokes a sense of belonging to society, albeit on a personal narrative. That said, the film has its downs; three unnecessary ‘item’ songs that add neither coherence nor relevance to the story and in fact take away from the impact. It’s disappointing because you expect a socio-economic narrative Shanghai but at times you’re heavily creamed by fluff and it is restricted to mere rhetoric. ‘

KRISHNAM VANDE JAGADGURUM

Cast: Rana Daggubati, Nayantara, Milind Gunaji, Murali Sharma

Genre: Drama

Director: Radhakrishna Jagarlamudi

Music: Mani Sharma

Plot: Personal revenge becomes a fight for what’s right

Bottomline: A tale of triumph over evil that could be well worth your time