How does tradition interplay with modernity? Are the experiences of friendship and love really permanent? These are some of the unusual themes that mainstream Kannada cinema addresses with director K Madesh’s Hudugru, a re-make of the Tamil film Naadodigal. After Jackie, the film also marks an interesting evolution in Puneet Rajkumar’s evolution as an actor. Unlike Jackie this is a more open ended film, which cannot be clearly slotted in any particular cinematic genre.
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Hudugru holds a mirror over the lives of Prabhu (Puneet Rajkumar) and his friends Chandru (Srinagar Kitty) and Siddesh (Yogish), who lead an ideallyic small town existence. But their lives change forever when their friend Sudhir (Vishal Hegde) visits them and enlists their help to win the woman he loves Sushma (Ramya Barna).
While Hudugru is helped by unusual themes drawn straight out of life and high production values, the film seems still seems to be trying to do too many things at the same time. The film’s several parallel threads, combined with loose editing, make the film hang weakly at crucial junctures.
The saving grace is the film’s undercurrent of humour and the dashes of romance that abound in plenty. But even these do not live to the high standards that one has come to expect from Kannada cinema, with Madesh often oscillating between entertainment and moralistic outrage. The end result is a well intentioned film that wanders somewhere in between, slightly lost in confusion.
The performances from the film’s many actors are convincing, but not outstanding. The only real revelation is Radhika Pandit, who adds a touch of freshness as Gayathri (Prabhu’s love interest in the film). The other actors help the film along, but cannot save it.
Inspite of these shortcomings, I would go with a rating of 2.5 on 5 for Hudugru. While the final result is not completely satisfactory, it is still interesting to watch Kannada cinema bringing together a combination of unusual themes in contemporary commercial cinema.
The ratings and what they mean
The ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and try to strike that difficult balance between cinematic critique and giving the regular film buff a peek into what’s playing in town and worth a watch.
1: Watch this film only if the director pays you
2: You could safely give this film a miss
2.5: A one time watch
3: Good cinema. Money well spent
4: Great cinema. A standing ovation
5: Simply speechless. A masterpiece