Film: "Jnanajyothi Siddaganga"; Cast: Tara, Shivadhwaj, Doddanna, J.K. Srinivasa Murthy and Suchindra Prasad; Director: Omkaar; Ratings: ** and 1/2
'Jnanajyothi Siddaganga', a film on the life and times of Karnataka's best known living pontiff Sri Sri Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur, situated some 70 km west of Bangalore, strikes a slightly different chord than the run-of-the-mill stuff.
In recent times, since most Kannada films have been centred on violence and youthful mushy romances, this film is like a breath of fresh air.
Made with a historical perspective and focussed on the authenticity and details, the film traces the history and traditions of the seven hundred year old monastery of the same name.
Director Omkaar's experience in making an essay on Saint Renukacharya seems to have helped his new effort studded with several sensible moments for its fast-paced narration and spirited performances.
Made rather as a eulogy, there are moments in the film that sometimes jar one's sensibilities despite being egged on by Yuvaraj's melodious music.
The hillocks of Tumkur forming the backdrop, the period movie's plus points are the rich, pleasing ambience, eye-catching costumes complete to the last stitch - that merge with the time-span of the saint and realistic props, for which art director Hosamane Murthy deserves a pat on the back.
Thespian Sridhar, national award winning actress Tara, Shivadhwaj, Doddanna, J.K. Srinivasa Murthy and television actor Suchindra Prasad have commendably underplayed their histrionics to suit the celluloid medium.
Cameraman P.K.H. Doss has used the locales like a well-used palette, painting pleasing visuals of the landscape that express considerable technical competence.
Obviously, Omkaar, who has also penned the dialogues, has done sustained research that is evident in the words woven into the captivating moods of the Matt's endeavour to spread the message of love.