What should have been only the opening setup of an absurdist feast turns into a whole film that goes nowhere.

Review A well goes missing in Sarkari Kelasa Devara Kelasa and the film never finds itselfFacebook/R Ravindra Skdk
Flix Film Review Friday, June 02, 2017 - 15:35

At its heart, Sarkari Kelasa Devara Kelasa (SKDK) has a rock-solid idea overflowing with potential – what kind of bizarreness might ensue if governments are forced to prove the existence of projects that only live on paper.

In the film, our upright hero played by Ravishankar Gowda is tired of how much money every government official swallows for everything from getting a pension sanctioned to securing a government job. But, as multiple people tell him, he can’t bully his way through the system. And without documentary proof of all the bribes he’s paid out, the law can’t save him either.

So he decides to play along, getting sanctions for a well on his farm by bribing his way past everyone from the village accountant to the local MLA. Just when he seems to have got his well and all the officials their necessary cuts, his well goes missing! Armed with all the sanctions he has received, and with help from his journalist girlfriend (Samyukta Hornad), he goes to court asking the police and the government to find his well.

The problem with SKDK, directed by R Ravindra, is that this setup, which should have only been the beginning of a much larger, funnier tale, is the whole film. So what should have been the opening half an hour of the film that plunges into unbelievable absurdities later on, instead becomes a dragging two-hour affair that goes nowhere.

SKDK tries to make up for this with a bit of dramatic camera work and dialoguing, a handful of songs and multiple attempts at comedy. But the drama doesn’t suit the tone of the script, and the jokes get repetitive and predictable. Having fought shy of a genuinely absurdist feast, the film tries to make do with a mixed bag of leftovers that don’t sit well together.

The film boasts of an interesting set of actors including Raju Talikote, Ashish Vidhyarthi and Rangayana Raghu, but they too don’t seem to know quite what to do with the script that doesn’t move forward very much. And with Ravishankar Gowda overplaying his role at uneven points in the film, the acting too leaves a lot to be desired.

SKDK could have been an excellent benchmark for satire in Kannada cinema. Sadly, it never tries too hard to reach any of its potential high points.

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