Film: 'Kabaddi'; Director: Narendra Babu; Cast: Naveen, Priyanka Naidu, Kishor, Dharma, Avinash and Ramesh; Music: Hamsalekha; Rating: ****
Debutant director Narendra Babu's 'Kabaddi' is certainly a classic film that is made entirely on the most popular game of the state. The thrills and frills of the game are amply reflected in the film, which also focuses on the emotional undercurrents between the players, the coach and the administrators of the game.
Babu emphasises on authenticity, but at the same time stresses on the cinematic visual requirements. He has been ably assisted by a team of five cinematographers and veteran music director Hamsalekha - all of them have done exceptional work.
Babu has written the dialogues with Hoo Pattanashetty and they are sure to be a hit with the audiences.
'Kabaddi' is essentially a love story which has the sport as its backdrop. Babu has done well in realistically portraying the aspirations, frustrations, high and lows of the Kabaddi players and their coach.
Though he has selected many new artistes for the film, he has been able to extract good performances from them. The more experienced actors have portrayed their roles perfectly. The desi spirit of the game is seen throughout the film.
The film revolves around the relationship between a Kabaddi player Praveen and his coach on the one side and his love affair with Priyanka on the other.
The coach does not like politics to interfere in the selection of the players or in his style of work. His ambition is to create a well-knit national winning team, but he faces many hurdles.
Meanwhile, Praveen's love life also runs into problems along with his sporting career as he has to miss the nationals on account of an injury. So he faces a big challenge to win the game and also his lover back.
The film is marked by fine performances from actors like Kishor, who really lives his character. Dharma and Avinash have excelled in their respective roles. Newcomers Naveen and Priyanka Gowda, who are real Kabaddi players, have shown they can act well too.
Hamsalekha's music is a treat. Apart from the soulful songs, he has given a classic background score for the film. 'Tholtode Thattu', 'Muththe Muththe' and 'Jhallantha' are good compositions.
The art director has done a splendid job in creating the right ambience for the film.
Watch 'Kabaddi' as it reflects the desi sporting spirit and the rich folk ethos of Karnataka. It may well be the film to revive the fortunes of the Kannada film industry.