‘Navagraha’ a thriller that isn’t thrilling enough (Kannada Film Review; Rating:**)

November 8th, 2008 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Navagraha”; Director: Dinakar Toogudeepa; Cast: Darshan, Saurav, Sharmila Mandre, Varshan, Tarun Sudhir, Srujan Lokesh, Giri and Vinod Prabhakar; Music: Hari Krishna; Rating: ** “Navagraha” is the second film by Dinakar Toogudeepa who had hit the jackpot with his debut venture “Jothe Jotheyalli”, which dealt with post-marital incompatibility problems of two young assertive professionals. Dinakar has now taken on a thriller.

The filmmaker has made the movie with seven artists - all sons of actors who had excelled as villains in the film industry. His elder brother Darshan plays the lead role.

Dinakar is looking to prove that he is versatile and can handle different subjects as a director. In times when love stories and gangster movies have become a trend in the Kannada film industry, Dinakar has tried to do something different. He should be appreciated for that even though he hasn’t achieved the desired results from this venture.

Another one who is worthy of applause is the film’s hero Darshan, who has shown remarkable courage in accepting a role with negative shades. Darshan is one of the most charismatic heroes in the Kannada film industry today and he has taken a risk by taking on the role.

“Navagraha” revolves around a group of nine petty criminals who join hands to steal the Mysore Dussera Golden Howdah, the golden canopy in which an idol of the goddess is taken out in a procession. The leader of the gang is Jaggu, who get together his sister, lover and friends to plan and execute the risky mission of stealing the canopy that is placed under tight 24-hour security.

The Howdah is stolen and a police team headed by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer is assigned to track the criminals. The gang’s movements after the theft and the police probe form the narrative of the second half.

Dinakar has written the script of the thriller and he has been enormously helped by Chinthan, who has written some crisp dialogues. But Dinakar seems to be ill-equipped to handle a thriller as is seen from many dragging sequences in the first half. The film picks up pace in the second half, but fails to create edge-of-the-seat moments.

Darshan has done his role with conviction. The pick of the lot is however Giri, who has excelled in his maiden venture. Saurav gives a convincing performance as the investigative officer.

Hari Krishna scores with two good compositions in “Yaami Yaami Antharyaami” and “Kan Kanasalli”. Krishna Kumar’s cinematography is pleasing.

“Navagraha” could have been a better product if Dinakar had worked a little more on his script. It is nevertheless a good one-time watch.

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