“Arishadvarga”… Arvind Kamath’s existential whodunit paints a woman-centric drama in noir shades

Posted on November 27, 2020

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With ‘Nathicharami’ and now this, Kannada cinema seems to have leapfrogged over other industries in terms of bridging the gap between (relatively) older women and lust.

Spoilers ahead…

First, we need to talk about that title, and here’s what Wikipedia says: In Hindu theology, Arishadvarga are the six enemies of the mind (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy) that prevent man from attaining moksha or salvation. Arvind Kamath’s film, then, is a kind of kaleidoscope that keeps rearranging these traits into new patterns with each narrative turn. Take lust. The trait is most visible in the scenes with an aspiring actor, Anish (Mahesh Bung), who moonlights as a gigolo. But there’s also Kruthi (Anju Alva Naik), who’s married to the much-older film producer and businessman, Manjunath (Avinash). He’s impotent. She tells him, “I love you. I also want to feel loved physically.”

Kruthi is the film’s pivot. Also, the film’s punching bag. Manjunath physically abuses her. Anish snubs her, calls her “ugly”. Another man, a filmmaker named Karthik (Aravind Kuplikar), blackmails her. But don’t feel too sorry for Kruthi. In Arishadvarga, the women, too, carry around secrets and lies. Like Anish, Sakshi (Samyukta Hornadu) is an aspiring actor — but her circumstances are different. She’s lying about her ambition to her parents, who want her to get married. She will soon learn that, sometimes, what we don’t want can be the better option and that, sometimes, it’s safer to listen to what the elders say. Otherwise, you could end up in a sticky situation — oh, say, beside a corpse.

Read the rest of this article at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Kannada