Ismart Shankar: Kanta lage aur Kankar
Movie Review: Ismart Shankar
Star Cast: Ram Pothineni, Nidhhi Agerwal, Nabha Natesh, Satyadev Kancharana, Puneet Issar, Sayaji Shinde, Get Up Srinu, and Ashish Vidyarthi
Music Composed by Mani Sharma
Cinematography by Raj Thota
Edited by Junaid Siddiqui
Directed by Puri Jagannadh
My inner fan can only sing, “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar … Kanta lage aur Kankar … Yeh pyaasa aaj kya ban gaya … Woh gir gaya poora … Woh mar gaya pyaara … Jo hit na mila … ohhh Sou rab di …”
Puri Jagannadh is not new to following a character and then delivering some sort of twist in the tale that will make him look more positive or different from what we have seen in the past about him. He believes in the journey of his lead character and thinks mainly from his point of view while exploring a story. But Puri Jagannadh never tried to make the same movie again and again in different ways during his initial years, now even in a story where he has enough material to explore two characters, he stuck to Pokiri style narrative and character defined filmmaking.
Otherwise, you can’t expect a clever maker like him to just drop all the information he can give about the lady lead and see her just as an object of interest from hero’s point of view. If he was the maker who was in form, then he would have seen where he is going wrong in the script rather than being overwhelmed by the lead character. He would have made it more compelling to all audiences rather than trying to stick to one set.
If a heroine doesn’t need to show skin, his heroine wouldn’t have to do that. For Example: Amma Nanna O Tamil Ammayi, Badri, Shivamani. Those films were massy too, they had youth going crazy too. Even in his Pokiri, behind objectification of his heroine, he made sure that there was a story and a reason behind it. If Pandu from Pokiri, had been forced to get a memory transplant and become a police officer, the reason behind Pandu’s conflict for losing Shruthi and accepting another woman would have been more relatable. As we get to know Shruthi and her story.
Even Itlu Sravani Subramanyam or in Bachi or in Badri or in Neninthe, we don’t see every lady character being objectified to the core that we feel like asking had theatre owner or Puri himself decided to give us some Porn-tertainment too. Not every film needs to be made in a certain way or not every character needs to deal in certain sense. But Puri heroine is increasingly becoming an object than a character. Nabha Natesh who plays Chandini in the film, herself says in the film that after studying Civil Engineering and being good at her job, she doesn’t understand why she fell in love with the protagonist and what she is doing with him, a criminal running from police? If a writer can write such a line for the actress, he can definitely build a character for her, right!
But Puri Jagannadh is no longer interested in that. He wants instant success. So, a line like “Maar Munta Chod Chinta“, becomes more important to him than establishing any kind of humanity in the character of his protagonist. He tries to humanize him by saying that his guardian was a criminal and he grew up as a criminal. Well, that doesn’t explain his choice to be a criminal too. Like a lotus, he can also think about other jobs even from his sewage tank, as he calls it out. Even if we say all stories need not have a Ram as a hero, this Ravan turning Ram doesn’t sound correct too.
Shankar transforms into Arun, a CBI officer because his memory is erased. We don’t get any explanation or a scene that shows how Smart Shankar is. He just shouts on top that he is Ustad Ismart Shankar but he either pulls out a gun or hits someone hard. Where is the smartness aspect in this??? Why Shankar needs to be Arun?? Because he is disposable and not needed after an operation. So, why he is allowed to go undercover?? What extra benefit can keeping him alive deliver to CBI?? Why should Shankar be Arun, why can’t Arun be Shankar?? Puri’s film answers all these questions in one simple way. It all has to be happening the way it happened because Puri doesn’t want to think about all those things. He wants to just “Maar Munta and Chod Chinta..”
If he had thought twice or thrice, he would have immediately asked himself, if Shankar has to live like Arun forever, why my story is trying to highlight Shankar’s character who will be erased at the end of the film? Why should anyone care about Shankar who will never return?? If Arun has to live like Shankar, then making Shankar the protagonist and Arun being him, would make sense. But if Shankar has to live like Arun and just “act” like Shankar or “hit” someone like Shankar, then what is the need of Ustad Ismart Shankar being the protagonist??? Arun is the smart person and Shankar is the strong person, who can hit. At least if that’s the dual life that Shankar has to live further, we should be knowing how smart Arun is and connect with his life too. We get Shankar and Chandini’s scenes where we don’t understand if we should feel sad for the hero or sad for the heroine or sad for ourselves. The purpose of those scenes seems to be connecting us to the “Love Story” which gives all the emotion, but they come out unintentionally funny and bare no weight.
One has to say that this Shankar escaped abyss which Puri tried to lock him into because of Mani Sharma and Ram Pothineni. While the experienced technician could elevate scenes and give kick-ass soundtrack, Ram could carry the character even though he seemed to be not entirely fit in it. Their efforts could make a content less film a passable one that too, with difficulty. Even ultra mass audience member won’t be just saying that the movie is extraordinary and extremely satisfying. They will say that it had moments and pace that did not hurt them like Puri films before. On the whole, even though this Shankar escaped ill-fate, Puri seems to have been deeply hurt by circumstances in his life which we don’t know much about, so deeply that we will see only traces of his early self in few dialogues or one-liners but not the director whom we love so much. Like a brilliant musician who once gave classics deciding to settle as a “remix-er musician” which can be achieved by a DJ too with limited music knowledge, Puri also became a “dual sim card brain holder”, who majorly is Shankar but can occasionally become Arun too.