A party down memory lane

December 30, 2016 07:44 pm | Updated 07:44 pm IST

Kirik Party showcases a whole lot of competent performers

Kirik Party showcases a whole lot of competent performers

Kirik Party (Kannada)

Director: Rishab Shetty

Cast: Rakshit Shetty, Rashmika Mandanna, Samyuktha Hegde, Aravind Iyer, DhananjayRanjan, Chandan Achar, Ashwin Rao Pallaki, Pramod Shetty, Shankar Murthy, Achyuth Kumar

Closing the year in Kannada cinema is Rishab Shetty’s entertaining version of a college musical, Kirik Party. As most films in this genre go, the story itself is not as important as the manner in which it is narrated. For instance, if you were to describe the plot of the film in one line, it is pretty commonplace: a college student’s journey of finding himself amidst his tryst with friendship and love.

But the beauty of Kirik Party is how well it narrates this story. In other words, it is the ‘experience’ that the film creates that counts, and after a while, it hardly matters that you can indeed predict portions of the story.

Ajaneesh Lokanath’s sound track plays a huge role in this narrative experience. Of course, the music is the important bit in a musical but his collection of songs not just takes the narrative forward but swathes it in a nostalgic, ‘feel good’ mood.

The film opens with a song and we are introduced to Karna (Rakshit Shetty) and his group of really close-knit friends. We are then also told that they are all collectively in love with Sanvi (Rashmika Mandanna). You know there is a love story between Karna and Sanvi coming up but the film beckons you to spend time in the boys’ hostel, follow them as they plot to woo Sanvi, see them grapple with boring classes and professors and gradually, eases you into the central love story - again through a song.

The ‘villain’ in this narrative is destiny. How an act of fate changes Karna forms the rest of the story.

Interestingly, even though this is a common storyline, the writing is fresh and plays a huge role in keeping one engrossed and entertained. The gags, the banter and even the dialogue infuses the narrative with a unique inventiveness that gives the film the status of a modern college film. Kirik Party actually is a good example of how to revisit the college film as a genre, and do it well.

There is an underlying theme of self-discovery that runs through the film. For Karna, it is prompted by one woman and fulfilled by another. This theme also gives the film a certain universal quality. The film may be set in a college but the questions it poses aren’t entirely about college. After all, is college ever really over?

There are portions of the film that remind one of films like Alphonse Puthren’s Premam , Cheran’s Autograph and even Raju Hirani’s 3 Idiots . But Kirik Party also forges a strong relationship with its landscape in Malnad and thereby saves it from becoming a generic college film. Karna literally traverses this landscape in search of himself. In this sense, this is Kannada’s own college musical.

Rakshit Shetty is impressive as the college-going Karna, who is both impish as well as astute, carefree as well as resolute — all the same time. Shetty essays this complex character rather well and holds the film together. Rashmika and Samyuktha Hegde perform well. In fact, the film showcases a whole lot of competent performers.

The cinematography is slick and experimental. Parts of the second half do tend to weigh you down a bit, but Shetty tries his best to keep you hooked. The film also uses a number of clichés- the most noticeable is the use of a woman to prompt a young boy’s transformation into a man. But these are pardonable tropes in an otherwise entertaining film.

One cannot help but marvel at the timing of the release. The film with its search for closure, introspection and nostalgia fits right in with the end of the year season and mood.

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