Film: 'Ijjodu'; Cast: Anirudh, Meera Jasmine, Sathya, Nag Kiran, Arundhati Jathkar, Mandya Ramesh and others. Director: M.S. Sathyu; Music Director: Manikanth Kadri; Camera; Bhaskar; Rating: ***
Octogenarian director M.S. Sathyu makes a come back after a 12-year gap with a film revolving around the Devadasi system. The film, which is Reliance Big films' first Kannada venture, strikes the right chord with the audiences mainly because of the top class performances and soothing music by Manikanth Kadri.
But certainly fans expect much more from Sathyu who made 'Garam Hawa' and satirical comedy 'Chithegoo Chinthe'. 'Ijjodu' may not meet expectations of fans, but still it is a film that shakes you and makes you ponder over the Devadasi system, which is a shame to the modern and progressive society.
(Devadasi system is still practised in several parts of Karnataka where a young girl is married to a deity before her puberty and later becomes a prostitute to be used by rich and influential people belonging to upper castes.)
The story as such does not offer anything new. Sathyu seems to have been influenced by author Ananda's highly rated story 'Naa Konda Hudugi'. He could have narrated the story to suit the current trend.
The film, as it has been told, will certainly not impress the present day audience who give as much importance to technical details as the narration. Mainly, Sathyu has not been able to show the dilemma faced by the two main characters who are representatives of modern and traditional societies. The film should have been a little more fast-paced.
Coming to the plus points, director has chosen perfect outdoors as backdrops. He has been able to get very good performance from the artists.
Anand (Anirudh) is a photo journalist who meets Chenni (played by National Award winning actress Meera Jasmine) during one of his assignments. Anand learns that Chenni is a victim of the Devadasi system. Anand does not approve of this practice and advises Chenni to revolt. Chenni challenges Anand saying she is prepared to defy the practice if he will accepted her. Anand's indecisiveness frustrates Chenni and she commits suicide.
Hats off to Anirudh, who always plays lead roles in commercial films, to accept a role with negative shades. He has given an excellent performance. Kudos to Meera Jasmine who has given a touching performance and has also taken a lot of effort to dub her voice for the film.
Sathya shows his talent in the role of a military officer. All the other artists have also done a neat job.
Manikanth Kadri scores well in the background music department. Cameraman Bhaskar has done a top class job.
'Ijjodu' is for the discerning audience who look out for stories dealing with reality and contemporary issues.