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Gowli review: Srinagar Kitty's comeback film is intriguing, but also quite overbearing

Gowli is an intriguing film, no doubt, but the film is likely to have fared better in the hands of a more seasoned director

Gowli review: Srinagar Kitty's comeback film is intriguing, but also quite overbearing

Srinagara Kitty in Gowli

Last Updated: 02.25 PM, Feb 24, 2023


Story: Gowli, an honest shepherd in a rural town of North Karnataka, faces extreme threat when the local cop robs him off all his cattle, which happens to be his only means of survival. His tranquil life, which also includes a loving wife and their young daughter, is in a sudden disarray as a result and with violence and mortal danger looming larger than ever. Now forced to shed his subdued demeanor and wield the axe in retaliation, Gowli takes it upon himself to save his loved ones and conquer the evil that surrounds him. Can he overcome the hurdles and avenge what he has lost? Or does the monumental battle get the better of him? 

Review: Gowli, aside from everything else, is a film truly fascinated with evil. As much as it is the story of the good ultimately triumphing, writer-director Soora spends a majority of the runtime in exploiting the stomach-churning evil that his world brims with. And the debutant does this with a strange mix of exaggeration and nuance, using the physical setting as metaphors to paint a poignant picture about social hierarchy, morality and violence. Is his approach effective though? Perhaps not fully because the same exaggeration in his method sometimes takes thing too overboard, leaving his narrative sometimes lacking of both subtlety and sensitivity. 

But Soora forges on, regardless, with conviction because he believes that in order to help the good prevail ultimately, the corrupt forces have to be highlighted first. In essence, the film, is a coming-of-age story of it leading man Gowli who must face the gravest threat of his life so as to break the shackles and unleash the true rage within him. Gowli must rise from being a meek man to someone who single-handedly restores peace both in his village and his own small family. 

However, in an attempt to raise the stakes and paint a picture of agony & cruelty, Soora's film becomes too testosterone-heavy and monotonous. Although its heart is in the right place, all the action and the heightened sentimentality don't allow Gowli, the film, to make a larger point about its core issues. At the end of it all, once the blaring sounds of the film wane out from our heads, we are left underwhelmed because the context and the promising setup of the film don't amount to much. 

One of the main problems of the film is his keenness to make his villains too wicked and evilish. Granted that the film's subject matter (based on a true incident, apparently) demands a kind of an intensified approach but that doesn't mean that the antagonists can't boast a human trait or two, no matter how diabolical they are at heart. There are way too many wicked laughs, way too much posturing from the villains and also way too much bass in Shashank Sheshagiri's background score.

Sharath Lohithashwa, one of the main villains, is quite impactful as the uncouth, morally-deviant police officer but the writing confines his character way too early in the story. Yash Shetty, the second most important villain of Gowli, is unimpressive and is mostly spotted mouthing, or almost growling, dull lines in Hindi. The film uses him as the leader of a pack of dacoits that unleashes mayhem on Gowli's village but these portions end up derailing the narrative instead of adding any value. 

Some of the best scenes of the film include the very reliable Rangayana Raghu who, as Gowli's uncle, imbues the film with a sense of maturity. Ably supported by Srinagar Kitty and the rest of the cast, the senior actor ends up being the best performer of the lot. Pavana Gowda, who plays Gowli's Girija, too, is a breath of fresh air and carries the complexities of her character with effortless grace. However, her role in the scheme of things is diminished by unimaginative writing and she never becomes a part of the plot.

Srinagar Kitty, the star of the film, makes an effective comeback and it is apparent all along that he was heavily invested in the project. While the first half of the film presents a more subdued version of his character, the second half escalates things to extreme heights and it is here here that we encounter the raging beast in him. The entire narrative is hooked to this transition and though we see it coming from far, one still expects the emotional shift to be effective nevertheless. However, blame it on Soora's inexperience or whatever, the result is a tad disappointing because of the lack of the necessary build-up in drama. 


Gowli is an intriguing film, no doubt, but the film is likely to have fared better in the hands of a more seasoned director. As writer, Soora manages to build a compelling world in the first half but the shortcomings show up quite early in the second half, thus rendering the rest of the film tedious. The action sequences are exciting but seem relentless after a point. And with the emotions too coming off as overbearing, it is likely that the viewer will feel a little bored. But, thanks to the central performances and the action choreography that Gowli doesn't falter completely. With the help of some exquisite cinematography that beautifully captures the unique world of the film, Gowli warrants a big screen experience.

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