Cinema located in the lives of Generation Next. A film about love, letting go, life and the contradiction of living. Pawan Kumar’s directorial debut Lifeu Ishtene mixes many flavours, leaving us with youthful cinema that retains its simplicity without being simplistic.
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After successfully assisting Yogaraj Bhatt in the making of Manasaare and Pancharangi, Pawan gets into the director’s seat with Lifeu Ishtene and does not disappoint. His cinema retains its trademark popular appeal, without losing a unique perspective. In the end he leaves us with a single thought – what is life if it is not lived truly and completely?
The film, also scripted by Pawan, takes us with young college student Vishal (Diganth) on a journey through life, replete with many unexpected twists and turns. We meet the women Diganth loves (Sindhu Lokanath as Nandini and Samyukta Belavadi as Rashmi) and the friends (Neenasam Satish as Shivu) who influence him. As Vishal evolves into the man that he will become, he also moves to gradual acceptance of both himself and life’s many contradictions.
The multi-layered script is brought alive with entertaining dialogues, good performances and strong production values. All these together sustain the audience’s interest in the film, coming together to give Lifeu Ishtene its best moments.
Mano Murthy gives the film an original music score, studded with great musical moments like Yarig Helona Namma Problemu and the more unusual Junior Devadasa. With two songs in the film shot in Ladakh, the film also has Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal returning to playback singing for Kannada cinema.
But above all else, the film also draws its strength from the contemporary rhythms and metaphors that find their way into the film. It speaks for young urban Karnataka more strongly than most recent cinema. Yet even when Pawan works within the framework of popular cinema, he breaks free of clichés and magic formulas often attached to successful film-making. In Lifeu Ishtene, script finally determines action.
For all these reasons, I would go with a rating of 3 on 5 for Lifeu Ishtene. It’s both an entertaining evening at the movies and a breath of fresh air for Kannada cinema. Here’s wishing for many more successful films from this young director’s lens!
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.⊕