Kotigobba 2 (Kannada)
Director: K.S. Ravikumar
Cast: Sudeep, Nithya Menen, Ravishankar, Mukesh Tiwari, Sharath Lohitashwa, Sadhu Kokila, Chikkanna
The screen cannot get enough of Sudeep in Kotigobba-2 . The film is a star vehicle. The narrative expectedly and repeatedly stops and makes way for the slow motion sequences that focus on Sudeep’s hair flip, hand gestures, adjustment of his jacket, a variation of the cigarette flip and his voice, of course.
In the opening song, the filmmaker also compares Sudeep with Vishnuvardhan using a special graphic in which two Vishnuvardhans merge into Sudeep. Apart from this, the film has barely any relationship with Vishnuvardhan’s Kotigobba (2001).
On top of this, K.S. Ravikumar casts Sudeep in a double role: Satya, the mild-natured, small-time real estate broker and his wicked alter-ego, Shiva, a specialist in heists. Now, Shiva is supposed to be evil but Ravikumar makes sure we understand that Shiva only steals to give to the poor. So both versions of Sudeep are good, just that one of them has more swag.
When Satya faces injustice, Shiva steps in to ensure justice, albeit the crooked way. As ACP Kishore (Ravishankar) says in one scene, if Satya has to become Shiva, he needs to get really, really angry.
One is reminded of S. Shankar’s Anniyan where the lead character suffers from multiple personality disorder. However, Kotigobba-2 makes no mention of any kind of mental illness and, in fact, extols Shiva over Satya.
There is a reason why Satya felt the need to switch to Shiva occasionally and this is explained through a rather long back story in the second half. At the heart of it is what Satya learnt from his father (Prakash Raj). It is a different matter that the lessons learnt from the father are grossly misunderstood.
Satya also falls in love with Shubha (Nithya Menen) who thankfully points out the flaws in Satya’s reasoning of his personality crisis and asks him to choose between Shiva and Satya. But in typical star vehicle style, Ravikumar ensures that Sudeep’s fans get as much of their star as they can, even if that means eulogising a personality disorder.
In keeping with the Ravikumar style of filmmaking, there are a number of commercial elements. This includes an opening song devoted to Sudeep (in which the filmmaker too dances), substantial suspension of logic and physics, a couple of romantic numbers and some comic asides (thankfully, woven into the story). But the film unnecessarily drags. The final action sequence has been lifted and recreated from Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows .
Sharath Lohitashwa, Avinash and Mukesh Tiwari are used as stock evil characters. Ravishankar is melodramatic. Nasser tries his best to play the good cop. Nithya Menen saves the film from becoming too clichéd at least as far as the female leads go. Sudeep flits between stereotypes of good and bad — with neither showcasing him differently from his other films.