Film: 'Pancharangi'; Director: Yogaraj Bhat; Cast: Diganth, Nidhi Subbaiah, Anant Nag, Sundar Raj, Raju Thalikote, Pawan Kumar and Padmaja Rao; Music: Mano Murthy; Rating:***
Director Yogaraj Bhat's films are always offbeat and full of surprises in the way they are narrated. Bhat is a big brand in the Kannada film industry as a director and lyricist, and expectations were naturally high from his latest offering 'Pancharangi'.
It is easy to understand what sets his films apart. Bhat has always been honest with the type of films he makes.
Bhat's last three films - 'Mungaru Male', 'Gaalipata' and 'Manasaare' - had become runaway hits. And expectations of movie buffs had reached a zenith for 'Pancharangi', especially since its music had become popular.
Has 'Pancharangi' met the huge expectations created before its release? Well, yes it has as Bhat has included all the right elements to ensure that it's popular with the middle class family audience. And no, because he has again erred in writing a script which doesn't boast of a great storyline.
But the film is sure to keep audiences engaged through its running time of two hours, and may end up in Bhat's list of hit films.
To be fair to Bhat, 'Pancharangi' cannot be outrightly dismissed as it has its good points like the humorous dialogues, pleasing music and good visuals backed by near perfect performances.
Bhat says his films are not always formulaic except for the inclusion of songs and some great visuals. He was in his elements during the making of 'Mungaru Male' and 'Gaalipata' because he had an uncommon theme, which 'Pancharangi' lacks.
The story goes like this. A family goes to Mangalore to see a girl and fix the marriage of the eldest son, Lucky. And they stay in the house of Latha, the pampered daughter of her family.
Bharath Kumar, the youngest son, has some weird ideas about life and doesn't take life seriously. Bharat meets a tomboyish girl, Ambika, who is the house-owner's niece. But Bharath's parents approve of Latha and would like them to be engaged soon.
But following a few unusual twists and turns, the family members walk out from the house. But Ambika has now become close to Bharath and proposes to him. And finally, Bharath too says yes.
And what happens to Lucky is the surprise element.
'Pancharangi' wins mainly because of classic performances from all the actors. Diganth shines in a complex role like never before.
Nidhi Subbiah is really a revelation. She pulls of a smooth performance and adds life to the movie with her expressions and body language. Anant Nag is as brilliant as ever in his brief role. All the other veteran artists have performed with ease.
Raju Thalikote and Rockline Sudhakar bring in some good laughs.
'Pancharangi' has one of the best music compositions in recent times. The song 'Life Ishtene' has lovely lyrics and is well choreographed too. Thyagarajan's camera work is another plus point of the film.
'Pancharangi' is an enjoyable family entertainer, but somehow you leave the theatre with a feeling that the film could have been much better.