Director Guruprasad the next Puttanna?
Lazy? Aimless? Watch Eddelu Manjunatha
Show me a person who says he is making a movie not to make money, but to make people change, and I will show you that pigs can fly. Not just possible, in today's films where skin show is mandatory, while a story is not. But there is a singular exception in Sandalwood cinema - Guruprasad, the director of Eddelu Manjunatha, the silver jubilee special of Jaggesh.
"If the film changes even two people's lives, I woud consider it as a hit," says Guru, refusing to speculate on the film's commercial success.
The film's story is such that it can appeal to almost every common man. The director's treatment of the narrative is such that you are rivetted to every scene that unfolds. And for Jaggesh fans, 'Eddelu...." makes for a great makeover to their hero, as a fitting tribute to his silver jubilee presence on the silver screen.
A comedy flick, Eddelu Manjunatha weaves in a social message about the price of laziness and aimlessness in life.
Jaggesh plays the role of a lazy, aimless husband who lives off his wife, a garment factory worker. As a bachelor, Jaggesh is a vagabond, drinking away his youth, and as husband, a parasite. Jaggesh meets a blind film director (Tabla Nani) who sees the trials and tribulations of the common man reflected in Jaggesh, and decides to make a movie in which Jaggesh is transformed. The female lead is played effectively by Pragna Shetty. In the climax his wife is forced to abort her child because of penury, which makes Jaggesh realise his folly and turn a new leaf in his life.
The story is told through a series of telling scenes that make you laugh and think, without any dishum dishum.
Eddelu Manjunatha is produced under the banner of Sanath Productions, floated by Shankar Rao, Sanath Kumar and Manjunath, and is a medium budget film.
One of the highlights of the movie is the slick and taut camerawork by debutant Ashok V Raman, who has shot the scenes in 8X10 closeups. This is Guru Prasad's second film. Jaggesh's Matha was his first, which had a decent run at the box office. He is now working on a full length animation movie in Kannada, the first of its kind in Sandalwood, called Idhu Bombay Yatavaiah.
Guru, as he is called by his friends, had several directorial offers coming his way, but as he emphasises, he is not wooed by masala value or star rating. He is a perfectionist who believes in making movies that have a real impact on the people. Already, he is being compared by some with the legendary Puttanna Kanagal.
Eddelu Manjunatha has had a good opening and a run at the movies. The film has won rave reviews and industry workers are already predicting that the film might win an award for best movie and best director. Music by Anoop Seelin is peppy and has a melodious ring to it, like Arathi Eththire Kal Manjanige.
Asked about the changing trends in Kannada film industry, Guruprasad brushed it aside and opined that "trends and tastes change, but people's appreciation of family values don't. "Eddelu Manjunatha is a total package to the family audience,"
Guru believes that 'there are no dull subjects; there are only dull writers'. He is a fine digger of debris. He goes in to the past and comes to the present with effervescence. He has given food for thought in his dissemination of knowledge that caters to the wide section of the society. That is because you find a character like 'Manjunatha' everywhere. Go see the film to watch yourself, or someone you know.
- Kishore Joseph