Karnataka

Far from straightforward

Yash and Radhika Pandit in Santhu Straightforward  

Santhu Straight Forward (Kannada)

Director: Mahesh Rao

Cast: Yash, Radhika Pandit, Anant Nag, Shaam, Seetha, Devaraj, Sumathi

Santhu Straight Forward is more a brochure of Santhu’s (Yash) abilities than a film. Through the course of a 159-minute-long film, we learn of his skills in fighting (slow-motion fights, to be precise), dancing, wooing a girl and delivering paragraph-long lines about what constitutes masculinity.

The overall objective of the film seems to be to pile on as many ‘macho’ metaphors as one can find on Santhu and more importantly, on Yash.

For instance, in the first half, we are told repeatedly that his moves are akin to a tiger’s but in the second-half, the filmmaker changes his mind and compares him to a lion. Either way, there is no thought process accompanying this transformation. This is true of the film too.

The story (and there is a vague one) follows the most cliched plot in cinema ever. It is love at first sight for Santhu when he sees Ananya (Radhika Pandit) at a traffic signal. He woos her but then learns that she is already engaged to be married to her mother’s brother, Dev (Shaam).

How Santhu wins Ananya over forms the rest of the plot, amidst many many songs and fight sequences.

Despite its title, it is noteworthy that there is nothing that is straightforward about the film. Santhu, for instance, only speaks in long, convoluted cliches.

Ask a question and he will possibly talk about the sun, the moon, animals in the jungle and allude to an answer but not tell you one directly. The plot too is narrated in the most convoluted manner. There is an initial segment that is designed to mislead you into thinking that this is a film about land mafia.

Then, after Santhu’s entry, one is given the impression that it is a good-versus-bad kind of plot but what it is actually is the regular ‘romantic-masala’ where the hero drives the plot forward and saves the damsel in distress. The climax is long-winding and complex.

But as the film progresses, it becomes clear that the film’s intention is not to tell you a story. Santhu Straight Forward is a typical star vehicle that tries to appeal to Yash and Radhika’s fans with punchy dialogues and romantic songs in picturesque locations. But, for how long?

Yash’s high-pitched dialogue delivery is consistently over-the-top. There is very little nuance in Santhu; his only trait is that he is macho. There are also a few awful ways in which the filmmaker conveys is desirability — one of which is a girl saying that she would not mind being raped by him. Radhika Pandit as the conflicted woman, delivers a mediocre performance. The film also has a diverse cast: Devaraj as Santhu’s father, Anant Nag as Ananya’s grandfather — both of whom work towards furthering Santhu’s life goals.

Santhu, therefore, is unstoppable and dominates every portion of the film. Parts of the film make you feel as if all your senses are under attack. Santhu Straight Forward will fall under the ‘mass’ film category, but there is no excuse for the lack of a tangible story or a set of characters that have been fleshed out.

ARCHANA NATHAN


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 6:33:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/Far-from-straightforward/article16084708.ece

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