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Beru is a must watch
R G Vijayasarathy |
March 08, 2005 11:50 IST
Mithra Chithra, a co-operative unit of several artists and technicians of the television and film industry in Karnataka, has produced two Kannada films so far. They have won National Awards and some special awards from the Karnataka state government.
Beru, the group's third venture, portrays the degradation of values in the bureaucratic system and the impact of a corrupt, insensitive and indifferent administration.
It is certainly the best film directed by P Seshadri, who is known for taking up burning issues in his films. The director's first film Munnudi dealt with the marriage of minors to rich sheikhs from Arab countries. The film gained entry to five international film festivals and won two National Awards. His next film Athithi was on terrorism. It won an award from the Central government.
But certainly Beru (Root) stands out in terms of quality. The message and the impact of the film is strong. The narration is crisp, the dialogue hard hitting, and the sarcasm realistic.
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Raghunandan, an honest officer, is posted at the Karadipura government office. He comes to the village with his wife and finds that the staff of the office lack the motivation to work for the poor. He barely starts tuning his office when he is told of a minister visiting the area along with a foreign delegation.
The officer is told to put the delegation up at a government bungalow. The search for the bungalow starts in the forests surrounding the area. The officer comes to know the building exists only on paper. His predecessors have even swallowed up government funds for its 'renovation,' and a watchman exists on paper, his salaries going to the corrupt staff.
A poor folk artiste, Goravayya, wants permission to cut a tree in front of his home, which is threatening the stability of his house. Despite making several trips to the government office, Goravayya – who has an orphaned girl with him – finds his pleas falling on deaf ears. The officer and the entire staff are completely focused on making arrangements for the minister and the have no time for the problems of the poor. Instead, Goravayya is sent to scout the forest to look for the non-existent bungalow.
Finally Raghu decides to cover up the fiasco to save an inefficient staff member. He sends a report to the government that the building had to be demolished and a new building will be constructed. Goravayya is paraded as the watchman to the team that comes for spot inspection.
The government suggests action against the watchman for not safeguarding the building. By the time Raghu and his deputy go in search of Goravayya, he has died because his house collapsed in the rain.
The film ends with the orphaned child spitting on the officer and his deputy. The impact is terrific.
The lead artistes put in fine performances. Sucheendra Prasad excels in the role of the officer. H G Dattathreya does a splendid job of an office supervisor who knows how to exploit situations. Venkata Rao (Goravayya) and Baby Soumya (his adopted daughter) leave a powerful impact. Lakshmi Chandrashekhar is very good as well.
Sheshadri has taken care to select his artists, mostly from theatre. Ramchandra's camera work delights, but the music re-recording could have been better. J M Prahlad uses sarcasm as a powerful weapon in his dialogues. Overall, Beru acts as a wake up call about the dangers of an inefficient administration.