In an age of streaming platforms, visual shows seem to be the answer filmmakers have found to draw viewers to the large screen. The multi-starrer, multi-lingual 3D film Kurukshetra addresses on this front and is to be watched on the big screen.
With the film showing the all-too-familiar story of the 18-day Kurukshetra war and what led to it, it is the idea that must hold the audience. Unlike most Mahabharata changes, the film refreshingly has Kaurava king Duryodhana and his friend Karna as the protagonists.
While Duryodhana dominates the first half, the centre shifts to Karna and other casts in the 2nd half and the speed picks up. Special from the Duryodhana and Karna, most actors lack depth.
Though advertised as an answer from Kannada to the Baahubali privilege of Telugu films, ironically, the film seems to be highly affected by the 1977 Telugu classic Dana Veera Shoora Karna, a magnum work directed & designed by N.T. Rama Rao in which he essayed roles of Duryodhana, Karna and Krishna. Various scenes in the film (especially of Duryodhana) seem to be too staged. Critical dialogues seem to be minor variations, or in some cases a literal translation of iconic dialogues from the Telugu film.
However, for most of the public who have had no danger to the 1977 film, Kurukshetra may besides work.
While the filmmakers have focused on the scientific aspects of the film-forming it into a 3D extravaganza, there appears to be not much focus on the dialogue. It is said that in Kannada that has had a great literary culture of ideas of Mahabharata from Pampa’s ‘Vikramarjuna Vijaya’ to the modern-day ‘Parva’ of S.L. Bhyrappa, a film adjustment of the epic borrows so little from the land’s literary tradition.
One of the sections where the film falters is in the use of language. The everydayness of the word does not sit well with fantastic surroundings. Surprisingly, the film is also mostly in prose, with very few poems thrown in, though rhetorical poetry is a brand feature of mythological plays and movies.
Though this is the first fantastic for most of the actors, in a pleasant surprise, most turns in excellent performances, Darshan as Duryodhana and Arjun Sarja as Karna deliver impressive performances. Darshan’s body language and dialogue presentation suit the role. Ambareesh as Bheeshma and Ravishankar as Shakuni have given notable performances.