Sandalwood
Director Sujay Shastry has a field day experimenting with various kinds of comedy, from slapstick to black humour.
Worth a watch

Gubbi Mele Brahmastra feels like a thematic sequel to Raj B Shetty’s Ondu Motteya Kathe. Raj here plays a software engineer Venkata Krishna Gubbi who prefers to be called Krissh rather than Gubbi – probably a pop culture reference to the Hrithik starrer, only identified by the spelling in subtitles. His folks want him to settle down, but Raj wants to fall in love. Debutant director Sujay Shastry also plays Nani, Krissh’s cockeyed best friend who is a pessimistic philosopher uttering food metaphors about the big bad world. There is an ensemble cast of quirky characters starring veterans like Shobraj, Babu Hirannaiah, Pramod Shetty, Girish Shivanna, Aruna Balraj and Manjunath Hegde.

The breezy first half establishes the quirky characters and Krissh’s chucklesome situations of finding a bride. He zeroes in on Purple Priya, a random profile on a matrimony site with no display picture, and stalks and messages her on Facebook. Priya (Kavitha Gowda) agrees to meet him at a temple and they immediately agree to marry each other. At this point, I was really confused if this is a meta reference to how quickly people fall in love in movies, as Gubbi… is filled with such meta references, which were mostly hit or miss.

Nani, like all typical male friends, worries that Krissh getting married would lead to end of their friendship and does his bit to put the brakes on his wedding, including spreading a rumour that Krissh has erectile dysfunction.

The interval block sets up a good suspense but the second half is when this comedy of errors loses steam. It’s like the opening batsmen hitting 200+ only to see the team all out well within the desired target in the last overs.

A flashback to Krissh’s bike theft leads him to Robin Hood, a self-proclaimed don who has kidnapped Priya. He demands that our hapless protagonist rob an ATM vehicle and then kidnap his girlfriend from another dreaded don from KGF (pun intended). As the confusion mounts onscreen, so does the frustration of the audience; with the writing nowhere as interesting as the first half. After a tortuous hour, the film moves towards the predictable happy ending (or is it?) with everyone involved in a comical fight sequence.

The director has had a field day experimenting with various kinds of comedy. There is slapstick, there is punning, the wrong pause jokes and occasional black humour too. There are gems like the Uppitu and fork joke, comparing a person’s likeability to slippers, the matrimony videos. But every dialogue is written to be punch-y, every scene to be comic and every character quirky that it gets exhausting and takes a toll by time the movie comes to an end.

Raj B Shetty is funny as usual but looks uncomfortable in a few scenes. Kavitha Gowda is good but has lesser screen time than the other cast members. Sujay Shastry as Nani steals the show adding to his filmography of already memorable characters – Sagani Pinto in Bell Bottom, Benki Seena in Srinivasa Kalyana. He has some of the best lines and scenes. The ensemble cast works well and a few characters stand out even in their limited screen time, like Alpini, Halli and Shobraj’s Telugu-speaking lawyer.

Sujay Shastry makes a confident debut as director. Music by Manikanth Kadri is apt and restrained though none of the songs stay in memory except ‘Swagatham Krishna’ with Karunya Ram, Shubha Poonja, Rachana Dasharath. Suneeth Halgeri helms the camera to great result, but the edit could have been tighter by a good 20 minutes. 

All in all a good family entertainer with some great moments and the possibility of a sequel.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.