Imagine watching seven short films, each 20-odd minutes long, at a stretch – some good, some bad, and some average. That’s Rishab Shetty’s Katha Sangama for you. Sandalwood has had its fair share of anthology films in recent times – Dayavittu Gamanisi, Kahi and now Katha Sangama. The trailer had painted the picture of a warm story and the movie, to an extent, lives up to it. The cherry on the cake comes at the end through Lacchaava, which makes up for a few flaws in the first six stories.
Katha Sangama is an ensemble film filled with several characters. This is not a preachy film that opens with a problem and hands out solution in the end; it is more like an expedition through varied emotions and experiences. But, it largely misses out on the much-needed wow factor. It is akin to life handing out surprises; everything may not always bring cheer.
The seven chapters are – Rainbow Land, Sathya Katha Prasanga, Girgitle, Utthara, Padavaralli, Sagara Sangama and Lachavva.
Rainbow Land: Kishore, Yagna Shetty, Baby Mridunika
The story is about Kishore trying to build a Rainbow Land inside their house for his loving daughter. But what happens when nature decides to go against all the hard work?
Sathya Katha Prasanga: Prakash Belawadi and Sowmya Jaganmurthy
Prakash Belawadi’s last day at work leaves him reminiscing about his good old life. A certain energy keeps pulling him back. When he meets tattoo artist Sowmya Jaganmurthy, a surprise awaits him.
Girgitle: Raj B Shetty, Amrutha Naik
Irresponsible lad Raj B Shetty falls in love with Amrutha Naik. Raj is blessed with a unique vision through which he can time travel. But when he reveals this secret to a friend, everything backfires.
Utthara: Balaji Manohar and Pramod Shetty
TV channel editor Balaji Manohar is a selfish man who uses news content for ulterior motives. Jacob (Pramod Shetty) is assigned to kill him. But there is more to it than meets the eyes.
Padavaralli: Avinash and Hari Samashti
Set in the pre-Independence era, the story takes place inside a barber’s shop. Cop Avinash is in Hari’s shop to avail his services. But the poisonous thoughts sowed by the British in people’s minds cause some tension between the two.
Sagara Sangama: Hariprriyaa, Rishab Shetty and Rumy (Dog)
The 20-odd minute silent story speaks louder than the other stories. Hariprriyaa gets stuck in the middle of nowhere and the only man around who can help her is a fierce-looking beggar with a ferocious dog. Sometimes, you must not judge a book by its cover but pick a chapter and let it unfold on its own. Sagara Sangama works on this theme.
Lachavva: Paravva, Raghavendra C, Beeresh, Nidhi Hegde
A majority of the audience is sure to call this their favourite story. Lachavva is a villager who is in Bengaluru to meet her only son. But what happens when she confuses Banaswadi and Basavangudi? Well, an emotional ride with an applause-worthy climax.
Lachavva is sure to stay close to the hearts of many because of the natural performance by Paravva. Though she isn’t a professional actor, she sure knows how to bring tears to your eyes. All the others actors too have put up a good performance.
Seven stories by seven filmmakers, seven musicians and seven DOPs, all of them very talented, is a treat to watch, allowing for a few glitches. The individual plots are engaging at times, but do not evoke great interest – like the Padavaralli episode. It could have been appealing, but the execution did not do justice to the story. Both Utthara and Padavaralli can be rated average to bad. Girgitle and Lachavva were my favourites.
However, the 20-odd-minute stories do not give enough space for viewers to absorb the characters. Also, since several technicians have worked individually on each story, the final product leaves the audience with mixed vibes. Cinematographers have stuck to the theme and have brought out a colourful movie based on the storyline. Music too is a mix of everything. Manasina Olage, Arivu Beku, Oorendarenu are sure to stir up emotions.
As the credits roll, Lachavva stays in your mind, but the movie experience leaves you with a sense of dissatisfaction. One thing to note about Katha Sangama is that as it offers a plethora of emotions, everyone can pick their favourites and agree or disagree with others’ choices. Katha Sangama is recommended as a one-time watch if you are tired of done-to-death commercial films.
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.