The Kannada adaptation of Reservoir Dogs, Navagraha was ahead of its time, exclaim fans
When Dinakar Thoogudeepa directed his brother, Challenging Star Darshan, in a heist thriller with a vast ensemble cast, it did not immediately appeal to critics or audiences. Inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, Navagraha brought together the sons of seven popular Kannada villains, in a tale about the heist of the Mysuru Dasara’s centre piece – the golden howdah. The film was not a washout at the box office, but did not make much money either because it was not a gangster movie or romance, as was the trend in Kannada cinema at the time, and since Darshan’s character did not involve much heroism and that the rest of the cast members were just as important as him.
Over the years, though, Navagraha began to be known as a cult classic, with audiences remarking that it was ahead of its time. Out in theatres on November 7, 2008, Navagraha celebrates 15 years of its release today, an opportunity that fans took up to list why it is one of the best heist thrillers ever made in Kannada cinema. “Kannada film audiences were not ready for this masterpiece in 2008. Harikrishna’s BGM was ultimate,” wrote one. “The movie had a unique concept of casting villains sons as all the main characters. Jaggu was one of the smartest roles ever written,” was another comment. Another common remark was that if Navagraha had come out now, it would have been a sure-shot industry hit, if not better. Darshan’s killer smile and fire in the eyes are what most fans remembered while discussing 15 years of Navagraha.
Meanwhile, fans of the Challenging Star, who have been waiting for his next, Kaatera, have something to look forward this week. Darshan will be seen in a pivotal role in Yogaraj Bhat’s Garadi, which releases in theatres on November 10. He plays a special character called Shankara in the film that has Yashas Surya in the lead. While Kaatera will likely be an early 2024 release, given that Darshan has now begun work on his next, Devil, with director Milana Prakash, it will likely be his second release next year.
If you are intrigued about Navagraha and would like to check it out, it is available to stream on Sun NXT.