Huliraaya Kannada Movie Review

by October 06, 2017 0 comments
Reviewed By: Harish Mallya.

Huliraaya (2017 / Kannada) is an interesting tale of a raw ferocious looking innocent guy who is lost in the real world and  his own surreal world. The film as noticed in the trailers and promos is based on the subject of migrants, but this is just a central theme around which different other narrative aspects of the film has been written. We all seem to be migrants during one point of time in our life and the tendency of moving towards a bigger civilised urban space is the preferred choice. The preference and need comes from need of opportunity. There have been several film where we see the protagonist getting displaced from his rooted environment to an alienated place. Certainly there have been many films on this aspect done before in popular cinema. Once the migration is done the narrative does not explore the possibilities of going back. Huliraaya puts an effort to do this. A film based on very much similar theme was made by TS Nagabharana during the 90s. in his film "Devara Kadu". The similarity lies only in the theme of migration to the city and realising the importance of roots to get back. Huliraaya binds in a story of romance as well as crime to make the narrative far more engaging.

Survey has shown that the boys in the village nowadays hardly get marriage proposals. Most from the to be brides side prefer the groom to be a city based person. This is a very natural development that has happened over the years and is tied to several aspects like economic status, security and the sense of law that is in the city. It is more easy to dissolve in a bigger city. In Nagraj Manjule's "Sairaat" or other films that are on similar theme the escape to city helps in decreasing the threat to the newly wed. Even though the city is a new environment it slowly pulls you in to be a part of it. This is one other aspect that Huliraaya tries to touch on, the desire of the girl to marry a city based person. This however is not dealt in detail as the narrative progresses in a different way. The narrative clearly marks the difference between the two fronts that come in while the protagonist decides to move to the city. In the pre-interval part he moves he does not have the interest and goes aimlessly but whereas during the later half he has a purpose. The transition of the character by then is clearly shown visually. The difficulties seen in the first half are not depicted as real problems to the protagonist. Its shown more in a humorous an lighter way. It is an interesting way to show it in this manner especially the scene involving the usage of toilet, petrol station, the street acts, processions and the shopping mall gives you laugh but are difficult times for the so called Huliraaya. The lack of confidence in the first half and the sense of confidence in the later half gives a clear indication on the influence the working of the city has on him.

This is out-and-out a film based and written for a single main character. The rest of the characters are supportive and by no means there is something that is out of place in the whole setup. The tone of the film is louder than usual. The character written for Huliraaya is such that it is way beyond normal because it does demand for such and Balu Nagendra does a phenomenal act playing it. Due to this the performances of the other characters too have been pushed up to be bit more dramatic than following the usual natural feel. The way two heroines have been made part of the narrative is interesting. It would have been easier to retain one and get along with the story but with the intention of adding in more importance to the city v/s forest conflict seems to be done in this way. The old person who describes and talks about the legendary Huliraaya seems like a Sutradhaar as he is always present during the most important points in the film. In the modern days of film-making getting in such a character does require a thought as he is as important as the main protagonist. The talks with the nature which usually is metaphorical in most of the films finds a real context here. The film has an interesting case of not all bad people are bad. There is a sense of gratitude that gets shown in the film.  If you count the number of deaths that happen in the film you will be surprised. Am sure that will bring a smile if you count. While you are watching you might have had a count of how many would die but do check after you complete the film.

The film never establishes where the forest part is verbally except for one dialogue which speaks about Durga Parameshwari temple which is more popular in the Dakshina Kannada. The visuals hint the region used to be in and around Agumbe, Hebri, Koppa and Seetha River basin region. There is a rather disconnect with the dialect spoken in the film and the dialect that is actually used in that region. If you care about such details the placement of the region is a bit annoying. The essence of the nature is very nicely captured. Its a known thing that the place itself is so beautiful that you get good shots but still you need to have an eye for locating the required places and capturing it. There are several good shots one in particular that needs a special mention is the shot which shows Suresha / Huliraaya raising his face in the river. Also during the near climax where he emerges from the high grown crop field. Some shots do give the effect of "indie film" and that seems to be proportional to the budget that went into the making of the film. There is something peculiar about the edits. There are jumps, there are this sequence of a conversation which seem to have been shot multiple times and joined. Even though it looks to be continuous you just cant ignore the cuts that it has gone through. Since most of the film carries this edit style you kind of get used to it after a while of settling down. The music is quite an amalgamation of modern and folk. "Save the tiger" verse in one of the track is something that lingers even after the film. The title cards have a trendy kind of feel.
Balu Nagendra brings in the energy that the film requires. Its only him. He has lived the role. As i mentioned earlier his ferociousness is something that the film uses for laughter. I doubt if there was anyone else who could portray this role. With "Janardhan of OMK" and "Parrmy of OA" this is yet another strong character that has come out of Kannada cinema this year. It just takes one role to get a take off and this is one such role that he has put in his best.  The female leads have limited roles and the contrast of cuteness that comes along with the raw looks of the protagonist makes it interesting.  The supportive cast is fairly in place except that they sound a bit loud and the reason is with the tone that the film works on.

Huliraya has cliches, it shows things that we have seen before. There is too many cinematic or "filmy" moments but still the overall feel you get while watching is quite unique. Arvind Kaushik and Shilpa, also Balu deserve appreciation for realising this as a film and Nagesh Kogilu to dare to invest in such a film. It looks exotic on script but it has taken quite some efforts to get it into form of a film. Pushkar and Rakshit backing this is something that has helped the film in a bigger way in terms of reach. Collectively there has been an effort to make the film and present it. The commercial viability is something that needs to be waited on. Some aspects that will stay for this film and forthcoming times... Arvind's writing, Balu's performance and the backing of Pushkar and Rakshit.

If films like these work it gives a greater confidence to try out and experiment on different styles of narratives.

So, yes, "Save The Tiger". Because, he is quite innocent and is good at heart.