The Rakshit Shetty-starring ‘Avane Srimannarayana’ is exhilarating, exhausting, and filled with gonzo visual imagination

Posted on February 5, 2020


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Despite this “let’s toss everything into the cauldron and keep the pot boiling” approach to narrative, the storytelling has a tonal purity. The film is one of a kind — it also looks all of a piece.

Spoilers ahead…

Every once in a while, we get a movie so unclassifiable, so out there, so unmindful of the Is this a safe bet at the box office? question (or even the Does all the clutter come together? question) that you’re just glad the damn thing exists. How do I describe Avane Srimannarayana? Let me leave you with the image of Lord Vishnu in his Narasimha avatar, but chomping a big, fat cigar — as He spreads His legs and gets ready to disembowel this film’s Hiranyakashipu equivalent, who’s sprawled out on His lap. And that isn’t even the nuttiest visual. Try this: a treasure hunter with a silly hat and a pendulum in his hand, looking like the great-grandson of Professor Calculus from the Tintin comics. His name? Harischandra.

The film is a joyful pastiche — although one that makes you think the people making it had a lot more fun than those watching it. (I mean, there’s no earthly reason it should rattle on for over three hours.) It’s partly a hunt-for-hidden-riches adventure like Mackenna’s Gold. It’s partly a lost-world saga like King Solomon’s Mines. It’s partly a pop-detective yarn like Jagga Jasoos. It’s partly a spoof-Western like Blazing Saddles (minus the fart jokes) or Quick Gun Murugan (minus the exaggerated “south-yindian” parody). I was even reminded of — wait for it! — The Return of the Jedi, in a bit where someone is mistaken for a saviour, thanks to a “sign”.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Kannada