2016 was one of the most successful years for Kannada cinema in recent times with record number of films getting released, and quite a few setting and breaking box-office records. Many new filmmakers came up with unconventional scripts and offbeat stories made with minimal budgets and returned home winners, continuing the trend of past couple of years which is being hailed as new age cinema. Let’s take a look at some of the best Kannada films of 2016, in no particular order:
PS: I’ve yet to see Karvva, which too has received much praise this year.
1. U Turn
The mystery thriller followed Pawan Kumar’s highly-acclaimed psychological thriller Lucia. U-Turn is about a journalist who finds herself in the middle of a series of co-incidental events while on a project about a busy Bengaluru flyover. The film will amaze you with its brisk screenplay even while going against against many of Indian cinema’s unwritten rules like song sequences. (Read our full review here)
2. Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu
The film which reads ‘wheatish complexion, average build’ in Kannada, named so because of similar ‘missing persons’ announcements made daily on Doordarshan, is about a typical 21st century corporate professional (Rakshit Shetty) who discovers the not-so-ordinary life of his missing father, thereby rediscovering himself while on a hunt for the latter.
Debutant Hemanth M Rao helmed the super hit film, that won veteran actor Ananth Nag accolades for his outstanding performance as a father suffering from Alzheimer’s in the film.
It was also, arguably, the best music album of 2016, with music director Charan Raj’s wonderful compositions.
3. Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu
Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu is adapted from a book (by the same name) from one of the tallest figures in modern Kannada literature, K.P. Poornachandra Tejaswi. Directed by Suman Kittur, the film is about the badass women from a small village in southern Karnataka who boldly take on rampant evil practices. The film gives us an opportunity to take a pleasurable 2-hour journey into the typical Indian countryside, leaving us asking for more at the end of it.
This year brought back memories of the 80s when women not only had important roles but entire films centred on them, with legendary directors like Puttanna Kanagal at the helm.
Raam Reddy-Ere Gowda’s Thithi won at almost every national and international film festival it participated in. It even won the prestigious Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival. The film shows the lead up to an elaborate death ceremony of a grand old man aptly nicknamed Century Gowda.
It’s one of the very few films that cast all non-professional actors (as villagers), who delivered superb performances. The highly-acclaimed film ran to packed houses not just in Karnataka but many other Indian cities, despite being a non-commercial film. Renowned filmmakers like Francis Coppola of The Godfather fame and Anurag Kashyap showered praises on the film, vociferously recommending it on social media.