Baraguru Ramchandrappa's latest film "Bhagirathi" is certainly the most appealing film that has come out of his stable. Earlier he made several films that won awards and even got recognition in the Guinness Book for their uniqueness, but they did not appeal to the masses because they were qualitatively poor.
But "Bhagirathi" stands out because Ramchandrappa has taken the trouble of narrating a film that could be easily understood by all sections of the audiences, unlike his previous films which were more rhetoric.
"Bhagirathi" is based on a popular Kannada folk song "Kerege Haara", which describes the story of a daughter-in-law of a feudal family and how she sacrifices her life to protect the entire village.
In a way, the story reminds you of many Sati-based stories that are popular in Rajasthan.
Ramachandrappa always said that he has reinvented the popular folk song in the film. But you don't find any sequence or a song underlining this aspect.
What you see is a garbed version of director's deliberate attempt to burden you with his own leftist ideals through many dialogues. This is the biggest drawback in the film.
But to give credit to the director, he has tried to reiterate that in a big family or a village, it is the woman folk who have to bear the consequences of superstitions.
In the film, women are shown as silent spectators when the head of their family acts on the advise of an astrologer. Though the elder makes a feeble attempt to protest, in vain.
The director fails to emphasize how women suffer because of the mistakes committed by the so-called enlightened men in the family.
What could be appreciated is performances of the artists in "Bhagirathi".
In the film, Bhagirathi is the second daughter-in-law of a big feudal family. Her husband works in the army of a king. Even before they get married, he is been given the responsibility to help in the construction of a pond in the village.
Bhagirathi tells her husband that construction of the pond is more useful and praiseworthy than his own achievements in the army.
Construction of the pond is complete, but the pond remains empty due to lack of rain.
An astrologer says that if a someone sacrifices her life, the pond will be filled with water.
The family decides that Bhagirathi will do that. When her husband goes out of the village for work, Bhagirathi decides to sacrifice her life to protect the villagers for whom the pond could be a life line.
Bhavana, Tara Anuradha, Srinath, Hema Choudhary and Padma Vasanthi have given strong performances in the film, while talented Kishore has got limited opportunity to showcase his acting skills.
V. Manohar's music is another attraction, but the camera work is inconsistent. Editing is average.
"Bhagirathi" is a good one time watch despite many flaws in the script and narration.