‘Dear Vikram’ movie review: A socio-political film that bites off more than it can chew

A still from ‘Dear Vikram’

A still from ‘Dear Vikram’ | Photo Credit: Anand Audio/YouTube

Even before its release, Dear Vikram had fuelled curiosity among the audience due to a controversy. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had objected to the film’s previous title Godhra, following which director Nandeesh clarified that the film is in no way connected to the infamous Godhra riots of Gujarat in 2022 and that he has no intention of hurting anyone’s sentiment. Despite the clarification and the changing of the title to Dear Vikram, the audience has remained curious, and now, the film finally premiered on Voot Select.

Dear Vikram
Director : K.S. Nandeesh
Cast: Satish Ninasam, Shraddha Srinath, Vasishtha Simha, Sonu Gowda, Achyut Kumar
Duration : 124 minutes
Storyline: Vikram, a Maoist revolutionary, is left in a dilemma while choosing between love and ideology

Other than the fact that streaming platforms offer more space for such socio-political content, the small, personal screen makes the issues with the film’s cinematic language, structure and technique more apparent. Nandeesh has taken the risk of opting for a hyper-link, multi-narrative structure that connects characters, who are either victims or beneficiaries of the social climate in our country.

He uses four characters to get his message across: Vikram (Satish Ninasam), a talented Dalit student; Nitya (Shraddha Srinath) an upper-caste idealist; Bharat (Vasishta Simha); and Nidhi (Raksha Somashekar). While Vikram represents a revolutionary path, Bharat believes in a strong Hindu Nation. The film delineates their life and experiences, exposing the futility of romantic idealism that is believed to be misguiding the younger generation. Dear Vikram majorly revolves around Vikram, as the title suggests, and Nitya, who as students speak about changing society and getting married. Both Vikram and Bharat finally realise that the system exploits their idealistic minds and uses them for their gains.

Nandeesh was honest. As he claimed, Dear Vikram has no connection to the Godhra communal riots, directly or indirectly. It peripherally touches upon the prevailing sectarian atmosphere, where even our minor differences are being weaponised. But, in his enthusiasm to address multiple burning socio-economic, cultural, religious and political issues in the span of one film, the director seems to have lost his focus. As a result, Dear Vikram turns out to be overtly preachy, and to connect the missing dots and for continuity's sake, the director takes recourse to a narrator.

But the filmmaker also attempts to present the current political scenario without making direct references. In the melee, the audience may notice the caricatures of a former chief minister, who launched the “Grama Vastavya” programme and takes an oath in the name of farmers and the slain Maoist Saket Rajan alias Prem. No stones are left unturned. From the farmers’ agitation, the Hindutva agenda, the anti-Feudal Maoist movement, and romantic idealism, to the bonhomie of politicians and the corporate world and the commercialisation of education, it touches upon every issue plaguing India. Had Nandeesh focussed on one issue and weaved other elements around it, his intention would have yielded the result. Meanwhile, those who expect something different after watching the trailer and controversy over the change of title, might be left disappointed.

With an ensemble cast of experienced actors such as Satish Ninasam, Shraddha Srinath, Vasishtha Simha, and Achyut Kumar, the director could have created strong characters that leave an impression on the minds of the audience. However, all the actors give it their best to bring the characters to life.

In its exhausting narration, only songs such as Jeevake Jeeva, Beeso Gaali and Yeno Salige manage to provide some relief to the audience.

Dear Vikram is currently streaming on Voot Select

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 4:20:26 pm |