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Kalapuram Review: Karuna Kumar Wins Over the Audience One More Time

Kalapuram is a simple story told by well-defined characters with comedy, which is the part of the screenplay and not a separate track. Karuna Kumar managed to create yet another endearing cinematic experience with Kalapuram

Palasa director Karuna Kumar releases his film ‘Kalapuram’ without much fanfare. It is the story of a struggling film maker (Satyam Rajesh) set against this remote village ‘Kalapuram’ where apparently everyone is an artist. The film takes us on this smooth ride as we journey along with this director, through his rejections, heart break and his film making process – if it reminds you of other films in the genre – well, the similarity ends there.

The hero of the film Rajesh almost gives up on his hope to becoming a film director, when his long-standing girlfriend cheats on him and chooses to be with someone who is good for her career. At this point he meets an old man, who says he has the money to produce a film, but the only condition is to make the film in his village ‘Kalapuram’. Rajesh sees no harm in agreeing as this is his chance to prove to his now separated girlfriend. Along with his friend, aspiring to be a hero – Rajesh lands in the village with the initial money to start his project. However, his money is taken away by the police who are out to control misuse of money during the on-going by-elections. As per the police orders, he cannot even leave the village until the elections are over. And, it is back to Square One for Rajesh.

The daughter of the house where Rajesh is camping, who is until then in the back ground reaches out to him, and motivates him to not give up. A true artist will create a great product even out of a grass strand, she says – a bit dramatic but it manages to inspire Rajesh who decides to make a film from the limited resources. Local photographer, heroine who is also a tailor doubling up as costume designer, garments repurposed from the tons of silk shawls presented at the events, that otherwise serve no purpose, and rotation – blouse pieces – name coined for the blouse pieces at home that usually go from one hand to another as no woman ever gets it stiched –  – designed into a colourful gown, local orchestra singer for music, an all-purpose local writer for lyrics are all signed up and the project is set rolling with the local head’s blessings. Equipped with a hidden talent – beat boxing – this powerful leader of a particular party opposing the government is only too happy to support the film project and instructs the local police to help, as well. It is the same man whose villain avtar you witness during the beginning of the film.

The film ‘Nageshwari’ is shot and canned – and, watching the finished film, only strengthens Rajesh’s resolve – to quit trying. Satyam Rajesh has indeed made an impressive re-entry as a lead character. Karuna Kumar has always tried casting new actors in his film, and ‘Kalapuram’ is no different. And, every actor has contributed his bit to make it a fun, endearing, happy film – where all is well that ends well.

Like his earlier films Karuna Kumar stuck to characterization straight out of our everyday life, which are only too familiar in their eccentricities and oddities. He has yet again used cinema to comment on the society – its good, bad and ugly side – without being too dramatic. His style is to integrate it into the screenplay and use humour as his mode. This simple story told by well-defined and relatable characters has comedy, which is an intrinsic part of the screenplay and not a separate track. Kalapuram locations, the composition of the scenes, the camera work, and last but surely the most important aspect – Mani Shrama’s music that is integral to putting together of the film without tampering with its soul.

On critical reflection  the film could have used a better packaged climax; the rest of the film however makes up for this.

Kalapuram is a good weekend watch. It is in short, a no-hype manchi cinema…



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