Director Champa P Shetty's adaptation of the story Huchheeri Esarina Prasanga by KT Chikkanna explores a day in the life of a woman, as she tries to give her daughter a taste of chicken curry
Koli Esru Story: Huchheeri (Akshatha Pandavapura) has a hard life, married off to a chronic drunkard who is not only older than her, but also does not provide for the family and steals whatever little money she manages to make doing odd jobs. As if the constant barrage of abuses from her husband was not enough, her elderly mother-in-law also joins in the chorus. The only bright spot in Huchheeri’s otherwise dreary life is her 10-year-old daughter Lakshmu. When the little one expresses a desire to have chicken curry, Huchheeri sets out to find a means to this end.
Koli Esru Review: Champa P Shetty’s film is all of 87 minutes long, following the events in a day in the life of the protagonist, Huchheeri (Akshatha). She is the breadwinner in a family of four, doing odd jobs in exchange for ragi flour and rice. There is, of course, no appreciation from her husband, whose drunk abuses are also peppered with allegations of her indulging in extra-marital affairs. The only reason that Huccheeri soldiers on through all this hardship is because going back to her folks is not an option. But then, when her husband’s wayward behaviour comes in the way of her dear daughter’s desire to have some chicken curry, Huccheeri reaches breaking point.
It's a very simple, straightforward story that works primarily because of Akshatha Pandavapura’s outing as Hucheeri. Filmmaker Prithvi Konanur, who had Akshatha in the lead of his film Pinki Elli? had said that he casts actors (relative newbies often), who will allow audiences to see his characters and not the artiste. Akshatha is the epitome of this statement, which is the film’s biggest strength. Unlike mainstream actresses, whose attempts to go deglam almost always looks forced and unnatural, Akshatha slips into the role almost effortlessly.
Akshatha is ably supported by young Apeksha Nagaraj as Lakshmu, as well as Prakash Shetty, as her drunk husband. Since the story revolves around events in Huccheeri’s life in only 1 day, the settings are minimal, and yet, director Champa manages to squeeze in glimpses of life in a relatively backward rural area, where having chicken curry is a luxury for most.
Koli Esru verdict: On January 26, two festival films are releasing in theatres – Koli Esru and Hadinelentu – both products of crowd-funding by the same set of people and, hence, being marketed as a bundle. Watching them over the long-weekend is not a bad investment.