Film: 'Maadesha'; Director: Ravi Srivatsa; Cast: Shivaraj Kumar, Sonu K. Bhatia, Ravi Belagere, Ravi Kale, Muni, Kote Prabhakar, Harish Rai and Padmaja Rao; Music: Mano Murthy; Rating: ***
'Maadesha', yet another gangster film, made a lot of unwanted news prior to its release because of censor board troubles, like other movies by director Ravi Srivatsa. But the film is stylish, has some exceptional technical work and well-crafted sequences, though the 'A' certificate could restrict audiences.
Srivatsa shows the grey sides of a determined, ambitious youngster who takes the route of crime. But 'Maadesha' clearly breaches the set pattern of gangster films that present the hero in a larger than life image. The director also exposes the fear complex that exists among gangsters and how desertions impact gangs. Some of the sequences are very real.
But Srivatsa is unable to avoid the temptation of using a few cliched sequences where Sanskrit slokas are used as the background for the gangster hero's criminal activities. He also meets the commercial requirements for a movie on the underworld - lots of fights and shootouts.
Srivatsa comes out a winner in the way he stylishly narrates the film. And the performances by the actors are great. The songs are well choreographed and Srivatsa is adequately backed by cameraman Seetharam's fantastic work.
'Maadesha' starts off on a realistic note but as the film moves on there are too many commercial elements that seem forcibly added. The authenticity aspect wanes considerably as the film moves midway and criminal activities are given more importance. This deviation from writer-director Srivatsa perhaps explains why 'Maadesha' will not become a significant gangster film in the industry like 'Om' or 'Duniya' directed by Upendra and Soori respectively.
Maadesha, the hero, is born to poor parents in the temple town of Nanjangud. His father is a mahout to the temple elephant and the young boy is very attached to the animal. In his childhood itself, Maadesha kills a man who assaults his mother. After spending time in a juvenile home, he move to Bangalore.
He starts working at a petrol pump where he is forced to fight some underworld goons. Maadesha's journey to the underworld starts from this small incident and his ambition to move up and his fearless attitude helps him become a don.
Later, he moves to Australia with his friends controlling the mafia and in the end he surrenders to the police, giving the message that crime does not pay in the long run.
Shivaraj Kumar looks stunning and stylish, and his energy levels are amazing in the dance and fight sequences. Mumbai heroine Sonu K. Bhatia is unimpressive and fails to make an impact. Ravi Kale does a neat job in the role of a tough cop and journalist Ravi Belagere also plays his part well.
Composer Mano Murthy's music doesn't stir you like his earlier works, though the background score by Sadhu Kokila is really good.
'Maadesha' is an enjoyable film for Shivaraj Kumar fans.