Kabaddi - Movie Review

Rating: ****
DIRECTOR: Narendra Babu
ACTORS: Praveen, Priyanka Naidu, Kishore, Dharma

Three good things have happened to Kannada film industry with Kabaddi.
One is the arrival of a promising new director.
Second, a natural actor in Praveen has been found and
Third, a brilliant dialogue writer has been discovered in Hoo Pattanashetty.

Kabaddi is one of the best films to have hit the Kannada screen in the recent past. Surprisingly, for most of the cast and the director, it is their first film. It goes to prove that young blood does effect change. There is hardly anything in the film that feels jaded. From the visuals to the dialogues, there is a charm that creates movie magic. Long after watching it, the images, words and situations linger. After a long time (Navatare was the last) there is a film in Kannada that has sports as its theme. When that game is so native, the film too feels close to the heart.

The story is about the trials of a wannabe kabaddi player (Praveen as Praveena) and a coach (Kishore) who dedicates his life to building a winning team. In between there is power politics that determines who remains in the team and who does not. A love affair that faces hurdles because of the game runs through the plot. Praveena loses his chance to represent the country owing to an injury. But in the end he has to get back to the game to win the girl he loves. You know he will eventually win, but that does not dull your anticipation of what comes next. Director Narendra Babu (not the namesake who made Palakki and Yuvah) in his very first film has shown tremendous effort in narrating a plot with characters that are so believable.

The best part of the film are the dialogues. Hoo Pattanashetty (one more newcomer) tells it as it is. The two dialects of Mandya and north Karnataka are both impressive. When Praveen, Dharma and the others mouth them, they do not seem like actors but real people picked out of a crowd in a Mandya village. Though the camerawork is good, there is noticeable difference in some of the scenes and songs. Free download kannada film songs here. No doubt five cameramen were used for different parts of the film. Watch the film and feel it grow on you.