There is a general saying that if you make the audience weep in theatres, the producer can laugh his way to bank! Well, Anaji Nagaraj, who made two big commercial films with Darshan and debutant director Shivu Hiremath, is out with a Nandadeepa, the Kannada film which has the look of the sixties and seventies.
The film is based on the song, Kanneerina Kathe (Story of tears) which is written by lyricist-singer Gururaja Hosakote, and which in turn is based on a real life incident 35 years ago.
The film starring two-time best actor award winner Devaraj and Shruthi (she also won a best actress award) marks the return of the stepmother theme to Kannada films. But does it work? Well, the story doesn't offer the lead duo much and there are only sequences crudely narrated to wring tears from the female audience.
Director Shivu Hiremath's immaturity is apparent by the weak handling of many disjointed sequences that slackens the pace. Devaraj and Shruthi are made to speak in the old Mysore Kannada dialect while all the others speak in the Uttara Kannada dialect.
The story, which is set in Uttara Karnataka village, is about Naganna, a poor businessman who sells pearls. His wife Shanthi and son Ramu manage to live with the little money that Ramu earns. Shanthi dies and Naganna is forced by his relatives to marry another woman who epitomises cruelty and deceit. The stepmother forces Ramu to starve and work for her. Such sequences are repeated again and again, which makes us wonder why artists like Devaraj and Shruthi accepted such a film. Performance wise, Master Manoj is good.
Harikrishna's music is average while M R Seenu's camerawork is just okay.
The verdict? A sentimental film with an illogical story.