Drama has all the characteristic traits of Yograj Bhat. There’s a lot of hope pinned on Yaare Koogadali

Yograj Bhat is a genial character. It’s as if he’s imbibed an emotional antiseptic. He’s experienced emotional upheavals and the loss of kin with dignity and equanimity. The calm exterior he exposes to the world is not an act. He knows there’s only so much he has control over in his life. His films reflect his attitude. The protagonist is probably someone Yograj wants to be, carefree in his quest for love and a life full of laughter. He’s proud of his ability to connect with today’s youth, his target audience. He believes if he can cinematically seduce them others will follow.

‘Drama’ is about a lout and a lothario. While the former is the typical Yograj hero, a vagabond with a heart of gold his pal doesn’t think twice before wooing married women. The village is glad to see their back when hero follows a girl he’s fallen for. Like the stories of yore in Chandamama, rich heroine dares hero to do tasks she’s sure he’ll fail in. Hero of course wins her over with his valour and never say die attitude. Thrown in is a principal who pines for his estranged wife, a mafia don and his former protégé and a sprinkling of colourful characters. There are the smart one-liners and a couple of songs that seem more like recitation. The so-called plot is just an excuse for amusing situations. Bhat involves the mob for the first time and there’s even a shootout in a resort.

‘Drama’ is better than ‘Paramathma’. It has a semblance of a plot and is packed with his signature ‘punchlines’ which never fail to bring the house down. Harikrishna scores a lovely melody which brings out the real poet in Yograj. Ambareesh as a soothsayer who foresees emotional turbulence in the hero’s life fits the bill. Krishna’s colour tones and compositions when he shoots the rebel star are very effective. Of the cast, Satish steals the scene with impeccable timing. Yash when he’s not acting like Ganesh tries a Rangayana Raghu. Radhika Pandit is effortless as the flirt from a fractured family. The length could definitely be pruned. A song on the beach nearing the climax is unnecessary. ‘Drama’ is amusing in parts, but again leaves you with the feeling that Yograj is capable of better stuff. He seems to be caught in a space of creative claustrophobia. At the end Yograj advises his fans to study too, but the irony is that if his admirers turn studious the halls showing ‘Drama’ would be empty!

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Raghavendra Rajkumar is a satisfied man. ‘Yare Koogadali’ starring Puneet and directed by Samudrakani is ready. “We plan to release the film on the December 20 and I’m very happy with the way the film has shaped,” says Raganna. The film is a remake of ‘Porali’ (Tamil) and also stars Bhavana, Yogi and Nivedita. “It was fascinating to work with the team. They are so organised and well prepared. The plot has been pruned and tweaked to suit local sensibilities,” says the beaming producer. The original, though not very successful at the box-office, had an interesting plot with a twist. The talented Nivedita, though not the heroine has a powerful role. It should make directors sit up and make note of an actress they’ve neglected. The promos with Puneet sporting a wig have aroused anticipation. After the tepid response to ‘Anna Bond’ and ‘Paramatma’, Puneet’s fans are definitely awaiting an interesting film from the first family of Kannada cinema.

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