Film: 'Anatharu'; Cast: Upendra, Darshan, Radhika, and Samghavi; Director: Sadhu Kokila; Music Director: Sadhu Kokila; Producer: Muniratnam
Upendra rescues 'Anatharu' from the fate of ending up as just another of the dreary, dime-a-dozen remakes the Kannada film industry is churning out these days.
'Anatharu', the latest directorial venture of Sadhu Kokila, is a Kannada version of director Bala's Tamil film 'Pithamagan', starring Vikram, which hit it off with the plebeians and pundits alike.
Comparisons are unavoidable in such cases. The first thing to strike a critic, who has viewed both the original and the remake, is the fact that 'Anatharu' makes a smaller impact than 'Pithamagan', which had much to applaud besides a mind-boggling, National-Award-winning performance from the versatile Vikram.
Upendra, however, has come up with his career's best performance in the role of a gravedigger who is living a life of grim silence. He is outstanding in the second half; the actor shines in sequences leading to the climax.
Darshan provides adequate support to Upendra in the role of a lovable conman, played by Surya in the original. But Radhika is no match to the ever-smiling Laila of 'Pithamagan'.
Sanghavi makes a brilliant comeback as the woman who develops a soft corner for the clumsy man emerging into the outer world from his lonely existence and labour on the cremation ground.
Rajaraman, the villain, just repeats his role in the original film.
Sadhu Kokila has succeeded in retaining the realistic flavour of 'Pithamagan'. Some may find the violence in many sequences excessive and disturbing, but it is inseparable from the high-voltage emotional content of the film.