The turn is totally unexpected. To imagine a Chirapunji out of a desert, Aurangazeb enjoying Ghazals – but it has happened. Turning back the annals of 2022 , it has an effervescence distinctive of the Sandalwood industry. It’s not a joke. Down the memory lane, while running a broadcasting station a few years ago I was battling hard to dialogue to the rest of the country that there existed a Sandalwood industry. Never to forget the experiences while shooting the KBC version in Kannada, the difficulties in fixing up Bollywood celebrities to come as a Guest on the Show. In fact one of the leading heroines from Bollywood who debuted in Kannada refused to acknowledge that and wanted no trace of her Kannada lineage in the industry to be exposed. To them it didn’t matter as they never had a trust in the Sandalwood industry.
What exactly is trust in the industry and what exactly does it evolve as? Trust resonates with being identified in the realm of popularity and it ultimately blossoming as ratings. It is indeed gratifying that this same industry that was once considered as a non entity today has three of its movies in the TOP 10 LIST of IMDB 2022 ratings and it is truly yet another underdog story winning journey. To read this as one sentence and to pass to the next is as easy as blowing up a straw. But the transition is like moving mountains and building castles. The Sandalwood castle is this built.
To understand the fantabulous victory and box office hit of three particular films is very important in this journey of Sandalwood industry branding an identity – KGF 2, Kantara and Charlie777. The canvas of KGF 2 is just massive and also much sought for by the audience – who were psychologically caged within four walls of lock down trauma. The machoism exhibited hence was a great relief to them that they literally howled with joy viewing the , larger than life histrionics, the opulence. The return of the angry young man has always been a successful grammar of filmdom and his victory over the evil is all set in a new pattern. The brewing of the stew meant a lot and with every scene mounted up as a first scene of the film, was a never seen before theatre experience for all of us.
Kantara is one rooted raw portrayal rooted in tradition. The neo type adaptation was such impactful that it looked something very fresh visually. The final enactment is the apogee creating tension and also nailing the narrative , steeped and entrenched in the roots of our culture. Roots never to be forgotten when re told as tales of fiction and myth are captivating.
Charlie777 is another heart warming, emotional story between a pet dog and his master . This emotional bonding is what the creative and visual crux depends upon. That moved and made all of us teary eyed. The twenty second century myth that emotions are in dearth has proved to be a fake hypothesis. The real hero of the movie is the Pet dog and full credit to the Director for getting that output from the pet dog. All of us got connected to the pet dog and his master. A well crafted masterpiece Charlie has also opened up spaces that a small minute thread of a story line bridged by emotion can seam a full length movie.
Well, as we praise the three great products of 2022 from this industry, it is also a moment for us to remember the past doyens who gave the industry a National Colour. It is from where this global color was painted across. It’s their arduous efforts that made this happen even after decades. They sew – and we reaped.
Undoubtedly pops in this versatile director Puttana Kanagal as the first in this lineage -Who can debate the statement that many of his films are specifically marked as landmark ventures and the great K. Balachnder lauded him calling him, his Guru The distinct portrayal of taboo issues of women in particular has given his films uniqueness unparalleled. He created a new genre of film making – that he endeared himself to both the critics and ordinary film goers alike making “bridge films” between art and commercial cinema.
Shankar Nag is an important personality of this descent. Who will ever forget Malgudi days which was filmed in the most soulful way in which it was written and this great Director /Actor is a name that cannot be forgotten in the annals of Kannada Cinema. Yet another actor / director is the much acclaimed Girish Karnad who is versatile in play writing as well. An ace of escalating fame and undaunted calibre, , some of his plays made as movies made a dent in the Indian film industry.
A pioneer in the industry, B V Karanth was among the first thespians from Sandalwood to gain national acclaim. He is the recipient of six National Awards for Direction and Music Direction. His film Chomana Dudi is considered an all time classic. Hailing from the Gubbi Theatre company and a founder of the theatre group “ Benaka” his contribution deserves multiple hats to applaud.
To quote with much awe and appreciation, Girish Kasaravalli – who is single handedly responsible for putting Sandalwood on the international map. Many of his films explore individual traumas and tragedies against the background of collective aberrations. He is the recipient of fourteen National Film Awards, including four for Best Feature Film..
As we remember them and salute these legends, India will closely watch the next offerings of the Sandalwood industry and its everyone’s hope that it will continue to spread its fragrance and make us transcend to another world of Cinematic experience. The progression and the changeover is just flurry in the right sense that makes the film lovers turn back to watch this industry which glitters and shimmers now more than before.
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