On ‘Pancharangi’

November 8, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Cinema, Friends, Letter, Media, Music, Musings, Slice Of Life)

[Here is a mail i wrote to a friend of mine on the 17 of October 2010 after watching the film Pancharangi. I am reproducing it with some changes made. These changes- rather additions- were caused by thinking and rethinking about the film in the time between writing this mail to my friend and posting it here today. This mail can be seen as my take on the film Pancharangi or my review of the film. Because it was written in the format of a mail it is being reproduced in the same format.]



Yesterday I went to watch Pancharangi with Shrisha. There were mixed reactions and reviews about the film. This made me more curious about the film. I must say that i could not like Mungaru Maley for i found it to be a very chauvinistic film. When Gaalipata was released I did not bother to watch the film because Mungaru Maley had angered me. But very recently I had to watch Gaalipata for some good reason and I liked the film, though I felt that the ending was abrupt. I have been wanting to watch Mansaarey but have not yet. It was with this baggage that I went to watch Pancharangi.

When the film opened, it felt like Yogaraj Bhat was in a hurry. He gave no breathing space. Within no time things shift and progress. But he relaxes soon. But by then it appeared to me that the reviews branding the film, “heavy with dialogues” was true and seriously, i felt, that the opening title card should have read ‘Waak-Devi’ and not ‘Waagdevi Creation Presents”‘. But soon I realized that the strength of the film is not dialogues as believed popularly. Y. Bhat proves that he can do even without dialogues in the temple scene where Ambika kisses the hero. The Director goes for a slow motion shot letting the intense moment seep into us. The mood is enhanced by the sudden flow of Shreya Goshal’s magical voice singing, “Nee Bhetiyaadanta Yaavude Jaaga, Jeewada Bhaaga,” taking the audience into complete grip. Ambika runs and rings the bell and the audience slip into intense involvement in that scene. There is so much of silence in the following scene of the hero returning from the temple, letting the audience ‘feel’ the feel of the unspoken relationship. I wonder why the film was branded as dialogue heavy. There is silence in the film, there is silence in the relationship between Bharath and Ambika. The scene where Ambika reveals her heart to Bharath by the beach is equally moving. There too, though the expression is through words, the revealing is through silence. Even the last shot of the film is about a fight between silence and words. When we hear “Naanu barteene” in Bharath’s voice, we don’t see his lips move. Did he say that or did he not? Was it a speech act? Or was silence screaming? There is so much of silence within the words! I think this is where the strength lies. (May be I am wrong. Correct me if I am wrong) This is why the film appeals, it appears to me.

As everyone has been speaking the film does not have a story as such. I remember reading an open letter by Jogi to Y. Bhat where I got to know that a story-less film is something which Y. Bhat has been wanting to do from a long time. Now, looking at his Mungaru Maley and Gaalipata, I feel he was attempting it. But I think with Pancharangi he has moved much further in creating a story-less film. Though Mungaru Maley and Gaalipata, did not have a strong story-line as such and was strengthened by its narration than narrative, they did have a much ‘constructed’ narrative when compared to Pancharangi. In Panchrangi there is no constructed story as such. Things just happen, like it happens in life. Like the unknown nomadic philosopher (played by Ananth Nag) who arrives from nowhere and goes somewhere, things just come and go. In Pancharangi the ‘life inside Pancharangi’ is not aimed at the camera’s lense in a strictly determined order. It doesn’t appear like the life inside Pancharangi is waiting for Director’s instruction. Life there keeps flowing and it appears like the Director has just shot the flow but has intervened less in the course that the life inside should take. So, life inside Pancharangi is not ‘constructed’ as such. It is like life where things just happen. Life doesnt obey any script. And even the life inside Pancharangi, though scripted, is scripted like an unscripted life. Things occur by themselves and do not try to forcefully fit within the frame that the script writer-Director has invented. The story-less story of the film also flows in this manner like there is no script that is scripting its course. So, i felt “Lifeu Ishteney,” in a way is ‘life as it is.’

Though life is continuous, it is made of fragments and unrelated stuff. These unrelated things come together to make a complete. It is like a collage. Life has no meaning and purpose as such. It is being and nothingness. Similarly the film Pancharangi has stringed the fragments of life. Intersecting lives come together in a space, making an impact on each other. Every fragment is complete in itself but still a part of a larger body, like those unusual shots by the beach in the presence of Ananth Nag, which appear broken but still belongs to the very same scene. Though those shots, at times, appeared jarring, looking at it as a technical expression of the philosophy of life as a collage of broken images, the shots appear convincing.

But in the flow of speaking for and of the younger generation did Y. Bhat take the anxieties of the elder generation a bit lightly? The scene where the parents of Bharath breakdown, there is an immediate entry of the newly wed couples. This sudden shift made the entire theater laugh. Don’t mistake me as standing in support of the attitude and stand of the elders but I felt that their anxiety their melancholy- however wrong they were- should have been given more space and thus respect. The sudden entry dilutes their sorrow, as if it had no emotional value. Again I say, mistake me not for standing in their support. Even if they were wrong and responsible for their melancholy, I guess it should have been respected a bit more.

But in that very scene something unusual happens. Probably for the first time, we get to see a non-protagonists becoming heroes… The maid and the driver who are not the central character as such in the film become the hero by living a more meaningful life, according to their hearts will. The brother of the maid becomes more respectable than the parents of Bharath.

My complaint about the film is the editing. The editor should have given some breathing space between several shots in the film. These quick cuts not only make registering of certain moments in the mind and seep in, but also irritates because the mind cannot run in such a fashion.

I will surely not call the film a classic or something in those lines. But the film is an important film. What thrilled me the most was the innovative and imaginative way that Y. Bhat takes always in filming songs. Take any of his films, he has shown newer ways of filming songs. Be it the grand, “Na Dheem Tana,” of Gaalipata or the song “Ello Maleyaagide,” from Manasaarey where he makes the barren land appear so beautiful! Even in this film, the way he has filmed “Udisuve” is so imaginative…And yeah in this film Y. Bhat has given commentary to the film at regular intervals. Was he trying to involve the Yakshagana style in the film like the Bhagawata who takes the story forward with his interventions? I thought so because the film is located in Mangalore!!!

Eager to know what your reply would be…



  1. arron said,

    liked it..
    havent watched it yet…….
    now will watch it for sure 🙂

  2. Sooraj said,

    Super review

  3. Sooraj said,

    Super review

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