‘Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare’ movie review: A style-over-substance campus drama with lots to admire

‘Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare’, from debutant Nithin Krishnamurthy, breaks new ground in visual grammar and production, and despite some flaws, the plot keeps us engaged

July 21, 2023 05:51 pm | Updated July 30, 2023 02:36 pm IST

A still from ‘Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare’

A still from ‘Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare, a movie from newcomers, filmmakers Rishab Shetty and Pawan Kumar play cameo roles. While scenes involving them are far from impactful, their presence feels like debutant director Nithin Krishnamurthy’s way of acknowledging his masters. Nithin found his calling while assisting Pawan for Lucia (in which Rishab played a character as well). Like the 2013 psychological thriller, Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare too breaks new ground in visual grammar and production.

The film stumbles in the opening stretch as it resorts to cliches of the college drama genre. We witness an overtly enthusiastic bunch of friends in a men’s hostel being rebellious against the warden. Just as you sense the film becoming a full-blown exercise of playing to the gallery, the director throws a nice little twist. Hostel Hudugaru Bekaggidare then turns into an interesting film. It tracks the night that witnesses the sudden death of the warden, who has named the boys in focus as the reason for his suicide. Wrecked by the incident, the boys, who must write their exam the next morning, face a bigger problem at hand.

Like most off-beat films, Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare feels like a boxing bout between ideas and their execution. The film could feel a tad too loud, but the flurry of quirky characters is irresistible and quite hilarious. There is a trio too stoned to grasp anything, a shameless drunkard, a studious first bencher, an innocent junior, a god-fearing Christian, a fearless yet ignorant North Indian, a protest-hungry guy, and many more who sustain the zaniness quotient of the film.

The heavy-duty concentration on humour from the director is apparent when each dialogue feels like an attempt to be better than the previous one. While some make you laugh out loud, some jokes fail to land.

A still from ‘Hostel Hudugaru Bekaggidare’

A still from ‘Hostel Hudugaru Bekaggidare’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare’s plot remains teetering on the edge throughout its runtime, keeping us engaged. Adding real heft to the visuals is Arvind Kashyap’s (777 Charlie, Kantara) cinematography. Kashyap’s hand-held shots do not just heighten the tension but also have a psychological effect on us as we feel we are constantly moving along with the story. Characters breaking the fourth wall now and then add to the film’s chaotic mood. This style also justifies the makers’ claim of the movie being made in cinema verite style as the dialogues feel spontaneous and natural. 

Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare (Kannada)
Director: Nithin Krishnamurthy
Cast: Manjunath Naik, Prajwal BP, Rakesh Rajkumar, Srivatsa, Tejas
Runtime: 144 minutes
Storyline: A campus comedy drama that revolves around one night when the boys in the hostel are jolted by the warden’s suicide.

It’s brilliant and brave that Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare doesn’t settle into one genre. The controlling warden (essayed brilliantly by Manjunath Naik) reminds you of Boman Irani’s Dr Virus character from 3 Idiots but unlike the 2009 Rajkumar Hirani film, Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare isn’t interested in being a full-fledged campus drama with doses of romance, sentiment, and a noble message.

The director stays focused on merely entertaining his audience, and Ajaneesh Loknath’s two terrific numbers add fuel to the film’s brilliant world-building. However, Nithin’s self-indulgence is exposed when the film becomes a bit repetitive and struggles to handle its weight of expectations from the first half. Ramya’s tiny cameo split into several parts is forgettable. In a film overflowing with men, the marginal showcase of women needed better writing. Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare is also a film of excess; there are plenty of references to Kannada pop culture, and the film might be too much to digest for those who like a balanced meal.

ALSO READ:Rukmini Vasanth eyes a versatile journey in Kannada cinema

Hostel Hudugaru Bekaggidare begins with Franz Kafka’s quote, “It’s only because of their stupidity that they are able to be so sure of themselves.” It’s not a bad idea to believe in one’s crazy ideas and attempt a unique movie.

Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare is currently running in theatres

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