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Kotee movie review: Dhananjaya, Ramesh Indira in fine form, but Param’s debut directorial has massive soap opera hangover

Kotee movie review: Kotee is a middle-class man's struggle to make an honest and decent living in a city run by a thug. It is the directorial debut of Parameshwar Gundkal 

3/5rating
Kotee movie review: Dhananjaya, Ramesh Indira in fine form, but Param’s debut directorial has massive soap opera hangover
Dhananjaya in a still from Kotee. The film releases in theatres on June 14

Last Updated: 08.52 AM, Jun 13, 2024

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Kotee movie story: Kotee (Dhananjaya) is the eldest of three siblings and the most hard-working one, struggling to make ends meet, with dreams of a better and brighter tomorrow. He and his family are residents of Janatha City, where everything is under the control of local thug, Dinoo Saavkaar (Ramesh Indira). Kotee runs a small movers-and-packers business with a truck he rents from Saavkaar, and doubles up as cab driver at other times. No matter what he does, it’s never enough and despite his resistance to taking loans from Saavkaar, Kotee does it, and finds himself sinking deeper into debt in no time.

Dhananjaya in a still from Kotee
Dhananjaya in a still from Kotee

The only way out of his immediate troubles is to take up a job that Saavkaar wants him for, but Kotee’s too honest a man to fall for that. Can Kotee extricate himself from these Saavkaar troubles?

Kotee movie review: A film that marks the directorial debut of a man who spent several years running a Kannada general entertainment channel extremely successfully, with a leading man who’s struggled to get to the stardom he enjoys today– Kotee had a lot of buzz around it, once it became known that Parameshwar Gundkal was directing Daali Dhananjaya. The movie had been kept under wraps for the longest time, until Param, as the debutant filmmaker is known in showbiz circles, decided to formally announce it with a teaser and release date.

Common man characters with day-to-day struggles that audiences can relate too are Dhananjaya’s forte, and Param gave his leading man just that. Kotee, a character that the leading man says he could see in a lot of people around him. To some extent, he’s right – Kotee’s lower middle-class family setting and aspirations that come therewith, will likely resonate with a wide section of the audience.

What fails the film is that in its nearly 3-hour run-time, it feels like a serial that Param conceived for a TV channel and somehow condensed into a feature film. There’s a lot of melodrama in establishing that Kotee is a man who just cannot seem to catch a break and is finally pushed to extremes for the sake of his family. The theatrics are exaggerated that even a surprise cameo by a popular actor as Kotee’s father does not evoke an emotional response. Kotee is also quite the slapfest, a standard trope in serials, with the hero often at the receiving end.

Ramesh Indira as Dinoo Saavkaar in Kotee
Ramesh Indira as Dinoo Saavkaar in Kotee

Kotee the film does not fall apart at the seams because of Dhananjaya and, to some extent, Ramesh Indira. Dhananjaya is earnest and very believable as Kotee, whether it is in his body language, or the way he speaks. Ramesh Indira, on the other hand, is menacing as Saavkaar and has had fun with the role. If only they’d been given better material to work on.

Dhananjaya – Kotee represents every common man and that’s what fascinated meDhananjaya – Kotee represents every common man and that’s what fascinated me 

The rest of the cast are like extras, with or without who nothing much would have changed. Pruthvi Shamanur, as Kotee’s brother Nachchi, for instance, just sits around with a headphone around his neck or on his ears, listening to music all the time. Debutante Thanuja Venkatesh as Mahathi, the sister, fares a tad better. Moksha Kushal, as the love interest, shows promise that she’s more than just a pretty face.

Dhananjaya in a still from Kotee
Dhananjaya in a still from Kotee

Kotee movie verdict: Kotee is the kind of film that will appeal to audiences who dig the drama of serials and don’t mind a nearly 3-hour fest of mostly that. If that’s not your cup of tea, you are more likely to have a little voice in your head wondering why the film just goes on and on and doesn’t end – it literally feels like an eternity. Watching Dhananjaya in his element as the 'common man' does help drown out that voice to a large extent.   

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