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Karataka Damanaka review: Shivarajkumar-Prabhudeva’s fun social drama has its moments, but does not sustain

Karataka Damanaka review: Yogaraj Bhat's film is quite predictable and works only because of its cast

Karataka Damanaka review: Shivarajkumar-Prabhudeva’s fun social drama has its moments, but does not sustain
Prabhudeva and Shivarajkumar in the song Deega Digari

Last Updated: 11.55 PM, Mar 08, 2024


Karataka Damanaka story: Conmen Virupaksha (Shivarajkumar) and Balaraju (Prabhudeva) catch the eye of the jail warden (Rockline Venkatesh), after they successfully thwart the suicide attempt of a fellow inmate by making the most of their gift of the gab. The jailer has a mission for the duo – head to Nandikoluru and convince his parents to return with them to the city.

The task, though, is easier said than done. Nandikoluru is a village that’s parched and on the brink of becoming no man’s land, what with the constant migration of its people to the city. The local MLA is of no help, as he and his henchman Jaggu (P Ravi Shankar) not only deprive the localites of drinking water, and actively tries to thwart their attempts to conduct the ooru jaathre. Will this be a mission impossible for the ‘cunning’ duo?


Karataka Damanaka review: In a scene from director Yogaraj Bhat’s Karataka Damanaka, a water tanker rolls into a parched village, with the villagers lining up in the hope of collecting enough to at least quench their thirst. It’s a scene that much of Bengaluru can, perhaps, relate to this summer, what with the city’s water supply depleted and most big societies operating on rationed supply during stipulated hours only. My heart ached when I saw water being ‘wasted’ and even more so at how short-lived the drama around it was in the film.

Karataka Damanaka is a social commentary about the migration from villages to cities and the need to return to one’s roots, disguised as a comedy. The film, no doubt, has its moments, but they are few and far between and the rest doesn’t rise above the formulaic stuff. There’s nothing novel about Bhat’s story, you’ll know how it ends way before it actually does. What he tries to say at the very end is what matters, but whether or not it has the desired impact, remains to be seen.

There is a lot of graphics work in Karataka Damanaka, much of which was focused on smoothening out leading man Shivarajkumar’s skin and de-aging him, which, I think, has messed with his expressions. But then, that’s the price you pay if you want your 60+ hero to play a young and eligible bachelor half his age. The actor is a bundle of energy and attempts to match Prabhudeva’s nimble footwork in the dance numbers, but when you have the ‘Indian Michael Jackson’ onscreen, the eye tends to gravitate towards him, no matter what or who else is in the frame.

Prabhudeva tries his best to play the funny guy and gets most of the witty punchlines as well, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the actor was modelling his character on Loose Mada Yogi. The body language, dialogue delivery and just about everything had a Yogi vibe. It got me thinking that perhaps Yogi would have done a much better job.

As for the two heroines well, Priya Anand and Nishvika Naidu, get to bust a few moves in the dream sequence songs. There’s precious little that the duo brings to the table otherwise. My pet peeve with having glamorous mainstream heroines play village belles is that they are just too well polished to fit in seamlessly. When the rest of the cast is ‘styled’ appropriately to justify the village setting of the tale, the heroines are not only kitted out in better and more colourful outfits, but also get immaculately done hairdos, highlights and what not.

It's been a while since I last enjoyed a V Harikrishna composition and Karataka Damanaka also doesn’t have great numbers that stay with you after you leave the theatre.

Karataka Damanaka verdict: Karataka Damanaka is not an extraordinary film; it’s a decent entertainer that hardcore Shivarajkumar fans may enjoy.

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