“Solid script executed well with brilliant performances. ”
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That meaningful cinemas, and those believing in them, espousing such a cause, do exist, is evinced in Haggada Kone, which stands as a sterling testimony to it. That there are those who rise above the single-minded desire to rake in the moolah at box-office and champion good cinema, is proven by director Dayal Padmanabhan.
Drawing inspiration from Parvathavani's 1962 play, Padmanabhan weaves a wonderful tale which spotlights on, and questions the cruel existence of capital punishment in the country. Making a strong case against it, Padmanabhan, through his protagonist Channakeshava, seeks to kindle a healthy debate on the issue.
Laudable for his honest effort, and sincere intent to bring the contentious issue into larger public space, Padmanabhan's Haggada Kone, deeply appreciated, however, falls woefully short of a well nuanced cinema.
Never leaving the confines of the Central Jail, where the entire action takes place, Padmanabhan's Haggada Kone, turns out more into a filmed play than film in its true sense. As a result, the viewer's attention span vacillates between periods of wakefulness and droopiness.
This shortcoming should not deny the film its due merit and aesthetic attempt in bringing to sharp focus all the ills dogging the society - corruption, politics, judiciary and other functioning, Through searing, sardonic and scornful indictment of the malaise and society's skewed rationale for capital punishment, Padmanabhan faithfully gives life to the late playwright's concerns about death penalty as a deterrent to stopping similar crimes being committed.
Slow, sedately paced, the film, which, if it had flitted in and out of the prison's confines, would have been an uplifting one, suffers from its inability to do so, which turns out its major undoing. Truly an art house fare, Haggada Kone, could have been more engaging and enterprising cinema, and endeared itself with the discerning cinema viewers.
Still, a much better fare from the regular riffraff that is foisted as entertaining every week, Haggada Kone, makes for a welcome, decent and deserving watch and a cinema which should be watched and debated and the makers laudable for treading the offbeat track. Kudos for that. Here's wishing Padmanabhan and his ilk grow in number and Kannada filmdom's stature as a good, meaningful films provider rises over the years.