We have always been fascinated with crime stories and the supernatural. And cinema has done its best to bait us with plenty of horror/crime/thriller genres. In the past, horror flicks were dominated with the conventional depiction of a female ghost: draped in a white saree with long black tresses left open.
And, it was a norm in crime thrillers to introduce the killer or stalker with cigarette rings filling the screen or a pair of black gloved hands going after the unsuspecting victim from behind.
When it comes to horror films in Kannada, one that still remains etched in your mind is the 1979 film Naa Ninna Bidalare. It was considered path-breaking for its treatment. Fast forward 40 years, and directors are finding new ways to scare the living daylights out of us. Movies such as 6-5= 2, Aa Karala Rathri, Gultooo, Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu were horror films with a difference. MetroPlus lists five standout thrillers of the last decade.
Join the dots
Rangi Taranga(2015) launched the careers of Anup and his brother Nirup Bhandari. Written and directed by Anup, Rangi Taranga had great visuals and a powerful storyline. The film follows a couple who decide to perform a ritual to ward off evil spirits. Instead of helping them, the event triggers a series of mysterious happenings.
Written, produced and directed by Pawan Kumar, U Turn(2016) starring Shraddha Srinath, Roger Narayan, Dilip Raj and Radhika Chetan told of mysterious happenings on a flyover where all who break traffic rules are killed.
Is it murder or is a supernatural agency involved? All is revealed in shocking twist.
A puzzle to be solved
Rakshit Shetty who made his directorial debut with Ulidavaru Kandante(2014) describes it as a crime anthology. Rakshit who also wrote the film stars alongside Kishore, Tara, Achyuth Kumar, Rishab Shetty and Yagna Shetty. An anthology of five stories woven together, the film had some interesting graphics.
Ulidavaru Kandantefocused on the Mangaluru mafia but also had a parallel track of a tender love story. Shot entirely in sync sound, it makes you suspect every character.
Back and forth
Adarsh Eshwarappa, made his directorial debut with crime dramaShuddhi(2017). The film stars Nivedhitha, Lauren Spartano and Amrutha Karagada with Shashank Purushotham and Sidhaartha Maadhyamika. Adarsh, who also wrote the film does not believe in spoon-feeding his audience. He believes in making the audience think and see the film like they are solving a puzzle.
Shuddhi, which follows a rape and murder of a young girl, was inspired by the Nirbhaya case and keeps the audience on its toes. The manner in which the story shifts between the past and the present is fascinating. The ending, which leaves the conclusion to the audience is haunting.
Kavaludaari (2019), written and directed by Hemanth Rao, was produced by Puneeth Rajkumar’s PRK Productions. The film with Anant Nag, Rishi, Achyuta Kumar, Suman Ranganathan and Sidhaartha Maadhyamika had a retro look.
The story revolves around a traffic cop, KS Shyam, who gets involved in a murder that happened decades ago. Kavaludaari like Shuddhi, switches between the past and the present with the past being shot in black and white and the present in colour.