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Dooradarshana review: Pruthvi Ambaar’s film has a simple plot that is let down by shoddy writing

Director Sukesh Shetty makes hotchpotch of the tale with the subplots

Dooradarshana review: Pruthvi Ambaar’s film has a simple plot that is let down by shoddy writing
Pruthvi Ambaar in a still from the film
  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 07.50 AM, Mar 02, 2023

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Story: Ramakrishna Bhat (Sundar Veena), a wealthy landlord in a village, who is quite cut-throat in matters of money, so much so that he’s even at feud with his younger brother Srinivas Bhat (Raaghu Ramanakoppa) and ousted him from the ancestral home. When the younger Bhat is gifted a television by his brother-in-law, he decides to leave it with his brother, until such time he is able to move into his own home. At a time when a television was seen as something that only people of a certain socio-economic standing could afford, Ramakrishna unleashes ‘owner’s pride, neighbours’ envy’, showing it off to the people in the village, all of who then become regular fixtures at his place to watch programmes. When the time comes for the TV to be returned to its rightful owner, it goes missing.

Review: If you were a youngster in the 80s or even early 90s, chances are that you will be filled with a sense of nostalgia about some of the events in this week’s release, Dooradarshana. Those were the days when having a television and a telephone was not meant for everyone, and those who owned one or both, often had to share it with the immediate neighbourhood, at least. I have fond memories of neighbours filing in every evening by around 5 pm to watch some daily serials and leaving only after the ‘news’ a couple of hours later. This was also a time we went from heading to a neighbour’s house to attend phone calls, to then offering similar service to others, when we were eventually allotted a landline. It would be unthinkable for youngsters today that there was such a time. When the trailer of Dooradarshana came, it took me back in time and left a warm-and-fuzzy feeling. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the film.

Sundar Veena in the film
Sundar Veena in the film

Director Sukesh Shetty’s film would have worked perfectly if the story was only about the changes that come about in this village after a TV comes into play. He didn’t think so, and, hence, there are sub-plots involving a younger lot – Ramakrishna Bhat’s son, Manu (Pruthvi Ambaar) and his feud with Kitti (Ugramm Manju), who was his bestie once upon a time, a golden jubilee celebration and a love story too. Sukesh’s failing is in trying to bring all these elements into a cohesive narrative.

The golden jubilee celebration of the protagonists’ alma mater is entrusted in what a former teacher calls, ‘the worst batch’. They are to do a play for the event that’s still months away, but all that this serves is to create instances for Manu and Kitti to glare at each other, have heated exchanges and even come to blows. The play doesn’t get done and we never get to know if the golden jubilee event happens or not. Sukesh forgot about it along the way.

As for the besties-turned-foes, well, after years of bitter enmity and a few action sequences, a family member’s ‘near-death’ experience, helps them brush it all under the carpet. What’s funny is that the person who had the ‘near-death’ experiences is described as critical and unresponsive, whose life was saved in the nick of time by one of the feuding parties. And yet, such a serious issue only calls for the patient to ‘take rest’. Really?

Thankfully, the film does not have a lot of comedy, but the few scenes that make it to the final cut are distasteful. What is it with Kannada filmmakers and jokes about homosexuality? Apparently, back in the day, gay men were so open about their leanings that they’d lust after and assault any man they encounter.

Dooradarshana is marketed as Pruthvi Ambaar’s film, but Sundar Veena’s role is just as important in the larger scheme of things. The senior actor is on point in some scenes, but hammy for the most part. There’s nothing worth writing about the rest of the lot.

Verdict: Dooradarshana is the perfect example of how to botch up a simple plot. One is reminded of the scope it had by the small-time but delightful Kannada film Koli Taal - a grandfather’s pursuit to find the ones who took a rooster that was meant to be the main dish for the grandson’s visit. Wait for it to drop on OTT.