Kabaddi directed by Narendra Babu is one Kannada film you cannot afford to miss. It comes not only as a breath of fresh air, but also is very realistic. Very rarely do you see such films from a debutant director.
Everything about the film has the stamp of the culture and ethos of Karnataka starting from the choice of characters, dialects used by them and the rustic music that haunts you for a long time.
After watching the film, you will realise how untrue the bad mouthing of Narendra Babu against actor and producer of the film, Kishore, was. He had alleged that Kishore sold his script to a Tamil director. Kabaddi and the Tamil film Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu may have based their stories on the game of Kabaddi. Other than that, there is nothing in common between the two.
Narendra Babu can take credit for making the first sports film in Kannada. The narration is smooth and quite absorbing. We can say that a new, young and promising director has arrived in the Kannada film industry.
The strong point of the film is its dialogues written by Babu with Hoo Pattanashetty, which is Mandya-centric. The Uttara Kannada dialogues spoken by Kishore also sound quite realistic.
It is to the credit of Babu that he has selected some real Kabaddi players for the film. The ambience set in Mandya suits very well, as the town is the Capital of Kabaddi in Karnataka.
The story revolves around Praveen, a Kabaddi player trained by a dedicated coach hailing from Uttara Karnataka region. The coach does not like politics to play any role in the selection of the team. Praveen's love affair with Priyanka runs in the same track as his love for the game. His love affair gets into problems because of his overbearing interest in the game. Unfortunately for him, he misses the Kabaddi Nationals because of injury. The mother of all battle starts in the climax when he has to win the game and also his lover.
Kishore once again proves that he is a dedicated actor. He has superbly handled the role of the coach. Dharma is another actor who is natural. Newcomers Praveen and Priyanka have fitted perfectly into their respective roles. Though there are many newcomers in the film, the director has been able to extract very natural performances from all of them.
The other hero of the film is Hamsalekha. The music is the soul of the film with the background score adding to the impact. Tholtode Thattaythu, Jallantha are superbly composed and choreographed. Although five cinematographers have worked for the film, the camera work is top class.
Kabaddi is a movie that cannot be missed. Go for it.