Language : Kannada.
Director : Raj B. Shetty.
Writers : Raj B. Shetty.
Cast : Rishab Shetty, Raj B. Shetty, Gopalkrishna Deshpande, Deepak Rai Panaje, Vineet Kumar.
Genre : Drama | Gangster | Black Comedy.
Streaming in Zee5.
This review may contain slight spoilers.
Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana (2021) is a well crafted technical gangster film, that thoroughly entertains. The film craftily intertwines Hindu mythology with Mangaluru’s Mangaladevi region and presents the story in a present-day setting. The lead characters Shiva (Raj B. Shetty) and Hari (Rishab Shetty) are modern-day avatars of Shiva and Vishnu respectively.
The storytelling of the 1st half is world-class and doesn’t bore you for a minute, it keeps you on your toes with its spectacular storytelling.
There is a lot of attention to detail in this movie. You can see and appreciate it easily. The metaphors in the movie are on point, be it a young Shiva painting himself blue and making a Trishula with sticks for begging on the street or him smoking a joint much later in the film or his grand entry in the film which is symbolic of rising from under the ground, a reference to Paatalaloka itself.
According to Hindu Mythology, Brahma is the creator (also plays a role in this movie, in the form of Brahmaiyya (Gopalkrishna Deshpande)), Krishna (Hari) is the saviour and Shiva is the destroyer. So no surprises here regarding what role they have to play. Many scenes are prophetic, they hint at what’s going to happen next if you notice closely. At a point, Hari and Ravi (not revealing much about him here) discuss Shiva is as loyal as a dog but more ferocious than one. In the frame, you can see the new naughty pet dog who loves its owners very much especially Shiva, but cannot fully control its emotions.
The film pays tribute to various gangsters films like Gangs of Wasseypur, Kammattipaadam, Vadachennai via some detail or a whole scene. The film is very raw, bloody and yet funny in instances. The director (who I forgot to mention plays Shiva, Raj B Shetty) makes it work brilliantly. The background score and sounds by Midhun Mukundan and the film’s sound engineer, Hriday Goswami are world-class and definitely elevate the movie experience.
There are two or maybe 3 endings for the movie, after the ‘obvious ending’. There are 2 more scenes. The last scene makes sense if you had noticed the first scene. At the start of the movie, you can see Hari digging a hole in the ground.
With the 3rd and final ending scene, a vicious cycle ends ( speaking of the cycle of life, was reminded of Kim Ki Duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring….will write about that one day).
I went and watched the film with sky-high expectations with fellow Bloody Brilliant writer Ananth Krishnan at PVR after the critical acclaim it got. The film was technically brilliant, and engaging but falls just short of the Brilliant and Bloody Brilliant mark for me, ratings I would give for films like Kammattipaadam, Vadachennai, or Gangs of Wasseypur. The second half of the film slightly falls short of what the first half sets the audience up for and shows less of Hari’s perspective, with lesser screentime for Hari.
This is definitely a strong Kannada film you can confidently watch with strong performances, especially by the lead actors Raj B Shetty as the raw Shiva, Rishab Shetty as the cool Hari, and Gopalkrishna Deshpande as Sub Inspector Brahmaiyya.
Verdict – 5/7 stars.
The film has very few female characters in the film, but you might not notice that.
The film was shot in 32 days.