Nowadays it has been becoming a universal truth that whichever (whatever) South Indian film dubbed or remake presented by Aha must have something to offer. Some value. Either in the form of pleasure. Or in the form of retrospection. Anaganaga O Atithi is one such film we attest as we have watched its original Kannada version when there used to be times when films play in theatres and we ran India’s Best Movie of the Week. And considered it among the finalists.
Aa Karala Ratri! A Kannada film based on the Kannada play Karala Ratri by Mohan Habbu. It is an acclaimed play and was later translated into English - a play known as Lithuania - by Rupert Brooke. Those who remember the good old days of Doordarshan, a Telugu tele film was telecast with a similar story apparently inspired by this play.
With such a rich backdrop and premise, this reviewer couldn’t stand but watch the movie when hit Aha (as there is subscription and a couple of hours of free time, why should I miss an opportunity to write a review?).
Aa Kaala Raatri
Dayal Padmanabhan directorial Anaganaga O Atithi tells the ramifications of greed and lust - the passionate emotions among the passions (the basest among the Trigunas).
A family lives in a village and as in the case of these films they are mired in poverty. Usual for this genre, the father of the family doesn’t do anything and it is the mother who has to run the family. She’s a witch doctor or a nurse. Their income is meagre they have debts to clear off. Obviously as they are living in a rustic rural area, or at the edge of the village (area surrounding Chikmagalur in Kannada version) the person who gave them debt is a bad person with an eye on the beautiful daughter.
The daughter Malli - played by the excellent Payal Rajput who’s once again typecast - comes of age and age plays all the gimmicks with her. Hormones. But she couldn’t be married of and she couldn’t cross the line as moralities dictate terms in a different direction. One day a young man visits them and asks for shelter for the night. His visit is already predicted. Malli eyes him.
By the evening (???) he appears to be settled a bit and asks for sumptuous food. The variety he asks for awakens a past memory in the subconscious of the mother of the house. Soon it is revealed that he carries a suitcase and it has the vitamin that will surely cure their illness. Poverty. As the prediction said. But the person who had told them of this should have cautioned them. But unfortunately... didn’t.
What unravels that Kaala Ratri (terrible night) forms the rest of the story.
By this time at least a portion of you might have guessed the climax. But still the gripping narration, limited and under-control run time, and some great performances keep us watch this film till the end. The direction is nearly flawless. The editing is neat. The art department did a sufficient job. The production values are good for a made-for-television or web film.
Anaganaga O Atithi is a must watch film, but in leisure time with right mood. Good to great performances, well executed screenplay, competent direction, and a heart-squeezing climax... all make this film another feather in the cap for Aha Video. But this is not a film for everyone.
Pycker Rating: 3.25 out of 5