Reviews

Hora Hori: Old wine in an old bottle

Dileep and Daksha in a still from the film.  

Agumbe is a hamlet in Shimoga district, Karnataka, which receives plenty of rainfall for most parts of the year. The rain-soaked hilly terrain with its lush greenery would be a photographer’s delight, provided one is equipped with water-proof gear. Debut cinematographer Deepak Bhagavanth’s lenses caress the hilly slopes and capture the interplay of light, shade and rain frame after frame. This setting is a major asset to Hora Hori, backed by some good music and background score by Kalyani Koduri.

Take this Agumbe landscape and the music away from the film and what you get is a simple story of star-crossed lovers up against an obsessive lover, a template that director Teja himself has dealt with earlier. Mythili (Daksha) is in a state of shock after Basava (Chaswa) sets his eyes on her and gets two grooms chosen by her family, killed. As advised by her doctor, the family moves to Agumbe, hoping the serenity and the weather will help her recover. In due course, she falls in love with Skanda (Dileep) in the village. The obsessed Basava catches up, eventually.

Director Teja narrates this story with irreverence, giving the menacing antagonist a chunk of screen time. Basava is capable of cold-blooded murder but is willing to wait for Mythili to turn around and give her consent for marriage. In between settling scores with small-time foes and ensuring his fiefdom remains unchallenged, he is shown watching romantic hits in his den. Teja pits this uncouth, infatuated villain against a naive village youngster Skanda whose dreams don’t go beyond eking out a living with his printing press and internet centre in his tiny village. For a large part, the film moves at a leisurely pace that’s in tune with the wet, idyllic landscape.

When the two polar opposites Basava and Skanda meet and actually share some camaraderie, the story livens up though it’s easy to guess how it will all end. And the end comes after what seems to be a long wait.

Daksha has a reasonably good screen presence and shows promise. She barely speaks a word or two for quite a while. When she does, you wish the unit had found a better artist to dub for her. Dileep still has to learn the ropes. Only Chaswa makes a mark with his rugged, almost repulsive characterisation. Malayalam actress Seema is impressive as the grandmother full of spunk, though she tends to go overboard in the later portions.

Some inane humour in the form of a computer instructor and a glamorous village belle tests your patience.

Hora Hori would make for a reasonable watch if you haven’t watched Teja’s superhit Jayam. For others, this is nowhere near the best that this director is capable of.

As an afterthought, the whole typewriting competition between neighbouring villages seems funny when you think a desktop computer is reduced to an old fashioned typewriter.

Hora Hori

Cast: Dileep, Daksha

Direction: Teja

Music: Kalyani Koduri

Story line: Lovers have to unite fighting an uncouth, infatuated villain.

Bottom line: The rain-soaked landscape and music are the highlights.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 11:26:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/Hora-Hori-Old-wine-in-an-old-bottle/article10370137.ece

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