With all due respect to the Kannada movie industry; I have had long standing issues with the quality of movies being churned out of it. Not because of the budgetary constraints which made the movies look too plastic but even with the basic story line or concept of the movie. Only a handful of movies turned out to be worth watching every year and rest of them – absolute junks.But now I see the trend changing. Movies like Cyanide, Attahasa, Ulidavaru Kandante, Lucia and most recently the hugely successful Rangitaranga are proving to be cult classics thus paying rich tributes to stalwarts like Puttanna Kanagal, Shankar Nag who were the original mavericks of this industry.
Movie this week is the latest Kannada release-Last Bus. It tells us the story of 6 people who set out on a journey boarding the last bus through the scenic hills and mysterious forests of Malnad region. Revealing anything beyond this would actually deem to be a spoiler so I would stop the story right here as I believe with an original story(in the age of Hollywood remakes) like this; the Last Bus proves to be one hell of a ride!
The co-writer & director S D Aravinda has himself worked on the music and the lead actor Avinash Narasimharaju is the art director. This clearly shows us that the entire team of Last Bus envisioned the concept and set out to make a movie that creates an impact. Coming to the performances- Avinash Narasimharaju is an actor to watch out. He plays the role of a lost trekker Pruthvi who is practical even during difficult times. He gets into the skin of the character and excels in the climax which I believe he solely carries on his shoulders. Rest of the cast which includes Meghashree, Deepa, Mansa and more importantly Rajesh do complete justice to their characters. Infact each one of them gets 2-3 scenes (which are dedicated to them) and they stamp their authority. Prakash Belavadi shines in a cameo. But for me the star performer turns out to be Samarth Narasimharaju who is simply fantastic in his portrayal of college student Sudhakar. The way he transitions himself through the movie specially in the second half is notable.
But the real winner of the movie is S D Aravinda who ensures that we are on the edge of our seats throughout the movie. There are many spooky scenes which make you jump out of your seats. Infact the last ten minutes of the movie are so gripping that you cannot predict the end. On the flip side; some scenes and graphics seem to be forced and the parallel track could have been more tight. One of the good things about this movie is the presence of English subtitles which will help it go beyond the Kannada speaking audience.
The movie may have an ending which borders to be Inception-“isc” but I think that proves the novelty of the idea behind the movie. Infact I would like to write about my interpretation of the movie sometime later. On the whole Last Bus is definitely worth a watch not only because it has something fresh to offer but also due to the earnest efforts of the team to tell us a story about making a choice between believing yourself or your experiences!
Note to the producers- This film needs more publicity. Word out mouth publicity would not doubt be there but something on the ground would also help. I was in Forum and I couldn’t locate a single poster around!
Watch the trailer here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b54WVN4xNSA