Nanjunde Gowda has always chosen well-known commercial movie stars to make his artistic movies. His films invariably have some social issues as the backdrop and were made in good taste winning critical appreciation and awards. In his new Kannada film, Naanu Gandhi too, he has not compromised in his artistic beliefs and values.
Naanu Gandhi released in theatres this week made news when it bagged an award at the recently held International Children Film Festival in Columbia.
The film looks at the way how a small section of people practicing Gandhian values have been often ridiculed by the society and also the relevance of those values in the contemporary society.
Nanjunde Gowda has written the script based on the story written by Dr Ramanna, one of the most sensitive writers in the Kannada literature. Of course, he has taken some artistic liberties in the film version. However, these changes have not affected the tragedy and emotional pangs of a small family which still believes in Gandhigiri.
Nanjundegowda's film focuses more on the systematic transformation in the society because of the global reforms and greedy consumerism. Even though the film is made for children, the film runs like a discourse on the issues of globalisation and relevance of Gandhian values. The film, made on a shoe string budget, does not stretch this vision to create an impact.
Karisiddegowda is a farmer who has named his grand son Gandhi. However the grandson is often humiliated by his schoolmates and also the teacher. Gowda loses his land because of the manipulation of the village administrators. The story written by Ramanna has a tragic ending, but in the film, Nanjunde Gowda provides a new hope by saying that greedy people can be corrected and made to realize their mistakes.
On the negative side, the dialogues are too bookish to be understood by young children. Also, it becomes too tedious because of the slow narration.
Performances-wise, Prameela Joshai, Master Likith and Brahmavar look natural. V Manohar's music gels with the narration of the film. Nothing special could be said about Nagaraj Advani's camera work, though.
In a nutshell, Nanjundegowda should be appreciated for making a clean and sincere film.