IMDb Description: It involves the culture of Kambla and Bhootha Kola. A human and nature conflict where Shiva is the rebel who works against nature. A loop leads to war between villagers and evil forces. Will Shiva be able to reinstate peace in the village?
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Kantara (Kānthāra; transl. "Mystical Forest") is a 2022 Indian Kannada-language action thriller film written and directed by Rishab Shetty, and produced under the banner of Hombale Films.
A stunning, immersive visual spectacle mounted with extraordinary passion and vigor, writer-director-actor Rishab Shetty's Kannada-language film Kantara is a noteworthy amalgamation of history, folklore, mythical elements, intense drama, situational humor, and stylishly choreographed action deeply rooted in the local culture of coastal Karnataka.
The story is set around a village in south Karnataka. In 1847, an unhappy king desperately in search of eternal peace, ends up making a deal with the demigod Panjurli Daiva (the divine spirit of a male wild boar worshipped by locals). He agrees to give away his forest land to the local villagers in exchange for long-lasting peace and happiness. In 1990, when the actual events take place, an uptight forest officer Murli (Kishore) is trying to curb tree felling and hunting in that land, which is now a reserve forest. The villagers, however, are not happy with the motives of this “outsider” and oppose him vehemently. They believe that the land was given to them as a boon by their Daiva, and are hence in no mood to part with it. The village strongman Shiva (Rishab Shetty) leads the charge, and he is supported by the king’s descendant, the village head (Achyuth Kumar). Shiva wants to protect the village but also continue abusing nature for his selfish gain, while Murli is adamant about protecting nature and restoring ecological balance, even if it means defying the age-old village customs. The fight between them goes on until later when things take a different turn due to a tragic event and the real nemesis emerges from the shadows, making the villagers vulnerable and desperate for help.
The film succeeds remarkably in showcasing the local festivities and rituals. It again proves the age-old adage that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Although the story goes through familiar beats, thanks to the unique regional flavor and never-seen-before visuals, the film stands out and offers a unique experience for all audiences alike.
The cinematography is commendable and far from ordinary. Beautiful colors, melodic sounds, and raw and real character-driven performances elevate the visual storytelling experience and make it an absolute theatrical delight.
Despite being an original tale rooted in a rural setting and its culture, the film has a universal appeal. No matter your background and nationality, you’ll surely connect with the storyline. At the heart of it, Kantara is the age-old story of the conflict between man and nature, human and divine, commoners and the royal, and wickedness and holiness.
If you’re a mythology fanatic, the climactic showdown between good and evil is a must-watch — it elevates the film to a whole new level and will surely give you goosebumps. You might think about the film for days and even consider a second watch, that’s the magic of Kantara.