Onto the final release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Kannada film Vikrant Rona in a theatre. This film is another addition to the PAN India films doing the rounds currently. When it comes to adventure mystery genre, there is aren’t too many Indian films which can be recalled. So this is largely an untapped genre. Having said that, it wss during the first lockdown that I had watched a Kannada film Rangitaranga which was directed ny Anup Bhandari, the same director of Vikrant Rona. If a movie which did come slightly close to this genre, it was Rangitaranga. And Vikrant Rona seemed to be an extension of the world, does it manage to impress…lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Vikrant Rona follows the story of an investigating officer who investigates a series of strange events which are attributed to the supernatural. What is the mystery here? The story is really good and you can instantly sense the core of Rangitaranga atleast from its concept level although the two stories are totally different. The screenplay standing at almost 150 minutes means that this drama needs some amount of patience to be watched particularly in the first half.
The first thing which struck me about the film was its brilliant setup. If there ever was a study to be made on world building then this is the drama which needs to be examined. The terrific opening sequence includes a dim down marred by heavy rainfall which instantly sets the ball rolling where you as a viewer anticipate that something is about to happen. The use of weather is a really good start to the drama in the opening sequence which is nail biting and instantly peaks your interest.
This is a multi-genre film and so you will have little of every genre besides the adventure mystery element. So elements of horror and comedy are thrown in the mix as well. From the structural point of view, there is a lot going on in the first hour which seem like unrelated events. There is a supernatural element, a bunch of kids murdered, a headless police officer found in the well and glimpses of mythology been introduced in the narrative. This is honestly a lot to pack in and hence this drama needs to be watched with a lot of patience especially if you aren’t acquainted with this kind of a setup. This because there are easter eggs waiting to be discovered in the second hour.
That said, the comic element seems forced and many of the jokes do not really land right through the first hour. Probably, the humour wasn’t needed at all as the drama with its setup and the visual spectacle was doing its work beautifully thereby not bothering me too much. A little focus in the first half will reap benefits in the second hour where the pace of the drama picks up. The twists and turns will create a dillusion and thereby keep you guessing on who is the final culprit right throughout. There are a couple of subplots which add to the overall drama really well. Do not try figuring out the mystery in the first hour, instead try and keep up with the scattered plot which will come together in the second hour leading up to a rousing final act(along with a beautifully crafted pre climax emotional thread) which is exceptional to watch and witness. Overall, a well written and challenging screenplay which is brilliantly executed too.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are pretty good with a few one liners which will really make you clap and whistle. The music is really good although the songs do deter the flow of the drama. The BGM is hair raising and escalates the tension in the drama brilliantly. The cinematography is outstanding and this is a perfect recipe for a big screen outing, something which will never have the same impact on OTT platforms. The art design is excellent as are the VFX. To put it on record, this is the best 3D film coming out of India so far. The 3D is just brilliant and I would encourage my readers to watch it in 3D. Director Anup Bhandari does a stupendous job here. He doesn’t spoon feed the audience instead he leaves a few clues here and there in this challenging piece of cinema which can only be marvelled at(and this will get an additional half star from my side as it more than compensates for its flaws). You can sense that this is an extension of the world which he had created in Rangitaranga but it has been upgraded and how!
The direction is excellent!
The performances are excellent here. To keep the mystery element intact, I will not be naming the characters essayed by the cast. Milana Nagaraj does a brilliant job in an extended cameo. Madhusudan Rao has his moments to shine. Jacqueline Fernandez looks pretty and manages to create an impact. The makers too did play to her strengths here and she delivered quite well. Vajradheer Jain is absolutely first rate. Karthik Rao Kordale adds well to the comic elements of the film although not all jokes land. Neetha Ashok as a good screen presence and she does quite a good job here. Nirup Bhandari is well restrained and does a fabulous job. Kiccha Sudeep as Vikrant Rona(probably the only character which can be safely named) owns every inch of the screen and how! If there were claps and whistles on his entry in a multiplex in Mumbai then you know that the man enjoys a stupendous fan following. His style and demeanor is just outstanding to witness in what was a towering performance for the ages!
Vikrant Rona is a brilliant visual spectacle coupled with brilliance in its writing and performances. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended(preferably in 3D).