Gopi Nainar’s Karthavyam (2018) Movie Review


Starcast: Nayanthara, Sunu Lakshmi, Ramachandran Durairaj, Vela Ramoorthy, Vinodhini, Mahalakshmi, and Ramesh
Music Composed by Ghibran
Cinematography by Om Prakash
Edited by Ruben
Directed by Gopi Nainar

Watched at Prasads (Telugu Premiere), Hyderabad.

When you write about a film, you are either in awe of your idea or it became a necessity for you to write. In the first case scenario, you are trying to figure out a way to support yourself and the idea you have to stage and say, effectively as a cinema with drama. In the second case scenario, you are just trying to unfold some interesting situations that your mind can work on so that you earn some money out of a transaction. In both cases, you can fail and succeed. That’s the beauty of art, you can be 100 times passionate but go wrong and you can be highly mechanical and be successful too. But seldom, we see both approaches coming together and merging in tandem with all the professionals working towards a goal, to give life to an imaginative reality.

Even though that is mostly anticipated with each and every film, it gets too boring if there are no badly made films. Eventually, we lose a sense of difference between a well-made, brilliantly-made, adequately-made and artistically-genius. Even if only bad films exist, then a simple good adequately-made film will also look like a genius. Well, unfortunately as an Industry we are in a situation where 95% are badly made and hence, the 5% well-made became so popular that some become cult.

Don’t mistake me, this isn’t a rant. I’m neither trying to bring down Aramm nor trying to praise it above all. I am trying to place it exactly where it needs to stand. Gopi Nainar, the writer-director, tries to place the movie in an authentic rural India, where people are drought stricken and are highly unable to find water even when they dig deep into earth’s core. Groundwater has gone salty in the particular village we are talking about. While rich and big hotels are able to find water, poor are having to travel miles and miles over Rs. 30 to 50/- petrol for two cans.

Cell phones have become so cheap that in a family that lives on daily labour can afford three phones and also, give it their young son, to watch some songs and play games. They know how to adjust to the tariffs and get what they desire for. They are happy to adjust for a Rs.350 cake even though 600/- one is more tempting. Even the son’s plight is ignored as the poor are not allowed to dream big. They can see from a distance the rocket flying into the outer space and celebrate but they cannot have a dream to even try to become a swimmer.

The irony is on the face and the director doesn’t shy away from preaching as well. Here, the movie feels like a TV episodic documentary with random experts giving opinions. We see such experts on TV regularly and so, a satire in intention suddenly feels like a preach in execution. It feels like an attempt at comedy but then boils down to statistics discussion of whose fault is what in a situation of a young kid falling into a bore well. There are political interests here, that are challenged, and there is good deed vs bad karma discussions too.

A collector asks Police, Why don’t you encourage a debate with a violent mob? And we are shown that police have initiated the stone pelting to scare off, the madam. Well, this kind of a satire on democracy is rare to find these days. We either watched such takes in films like Ardh Satya, Saaransh, Visaranai or just laughed at clever jibes by star heroes in some films. This satire is written well but doesn’t feel like organic as in Ardh Satya but feels half-forced and half-organically imbibed by the writer into the script.

The problem majorly lies in his over-reliance on close-ups and words rather than the camera. In the entire length, to make a point he either cuts to a close-up or writes punchlines and lengthy monologues. One monologue comes at the right time and Nayantara brilliantly lands it. The intention behind the film is pure and hence, Om Prakash, the Cinematographer and Art department gives it lively authenticity. Cannot go without mentioning Ramachandran Durairaj and Sunu Lakshmi. They both are brilliant.

While like our Democracy, the movie is also stuck deep in a bore well to find either it’s pro-satire or anti-satire, a pulsating climax makes us as emotionally invested souls rise above and clap in adulation. But what about the points it made? It asked us can we find a solution or a medicine to water thirst? It asks us should we see ourselves as pro-government or Anti-government? It also asked us are we Democrats who believe that only we can save ourselves or do we messiah of masses? Many interesting and important questions. But are there answers even after 70 years of being independent and strong??? Watch this film to experience the authentic India that questions our NEGLIGENCE.

Karthavyam hits theatres on March 16th, 2018.

Theatrical Trailer:

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