Film: Gurudev Hoysala
Director: Vijay N
Cast: Dhananjaya, Naveen Shankar, Amrutha Iyengar, Achyuth Kumar, Prathap Narayan
Duration: 132 minutes
A modern cop classic
Mainstream Kannada film makers would easily accept the verdict of ‘guilty as charged’ when it comes to their aversion to addressing serious social issues. They cannot be blamed when anyone and everyone seems to be easily offended for even innocuous elements in movies. So, director Vijay N and his team should primarily be commended for blending an important concern into what is essentially a commercial potboiler. Of course, he plays it safe and makes sure names, places and references remain generic, but the risk taken is admirable. I won’t blow the gaff on the theme here. It is best experienced as part of the film.
Gurudev Hoysala is the typical honest cop whose suitcases are best left unpacked. He arrives in Belagavi to investigate a missing police officer but soon gets embroiled in an issue that has the potential to flare up things beyond anybody’s control. Our hero has to set things right before the Pandora’s Box he has unwittingly opened threatens to shatter peace. Yes, of course we know he will win in the end, but does his actions till then entertain us is the question.
The story is packed with loads of action befitting a cop saga. There are incidents and characters that would make any film meaningful and worth the watch. The characters portrayed by Achyuth Kumar, Naveen Shankar and Nagabushana for example keep the narrative engaging. What they lack is the complexity that makes some film characters household names. The characters are given very little time to mature in the minds of the audience. The director and the editor are in a hurry to keep the film around the two-hour mark. That perhaps is the need of the hour as well.
The film has a taut storyline and a pacy narrative, but its generic conflicts make the progression predictable. How would an insane villain get back at the gritty cop? Of course, attack his family and friends. The easy way out of tricky situations is taken throughout and even in the climax. A few unpredictable actions by the protagonist would have made this film classier. Gurudev Hoysala is a good cop-action thriller no doubt. But it just stops short of propelling ‘Hoysala’ from becoming a cult.
A few more fleshed-out characters and scenes may have put Hoysala on the same footing as a Sangliyana or even a Police Story. A few more nuances and a few more subtle play up of emotions perhaps? It is not too much to ask for right?
Hoysala is a pot-boiler of action, heroics, revenge, class conflict and emotions. It is entertaining and engaging too. It is a mass-masala police story whose underlying social theme gives it a broader and humane appeal. The film won’t disappoint and is a value-for-money proposition for audiences and is a worthy addition to Sandalwood’s cop genre movies.