Film: 'Gulabi Talkies'; Screenplaywriter-Director: Girish Kasaravalli; Camera: S.Ramachandra, Music Director: Issac Thomas; Producer: Basanth Kumar Patil; Rating: ****
'Gulabi Talkies' is an outstanding film with a perfect casting and top class performances.
Internationally renowned director Girish Kasaravalli has certainly churned out a masterpiece in the form of 'Gulabi Talkies' that deals with an issues, which is rarely touched in the Indian movies.
And like his earlier films, 'Gulabi Talkies' too makes a powerful impact on the viewers with its authentic narration. The director has taken care of minutest details in the movie.
'Gulabi Talkies' is based on a short story written by well-known Kannada writer Vaidehi, who is known for writing on women related issues.
Kasaravalli, who has scripted the film himself, takes the film to a different level by using perfect imagery technique to illustrate the many dangers of consumerism, economic reforms and social discrimination.
A few years ago, he had directed a film called 'Mane', based on a short story written by another Kannada writer Ananda.
It was about a middle class family living in an urban milieu and Kasaravalli had cast Bollywood veterans Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi in 'Mane' - it showed the ill effects of consumerism, which leads to greed in the middle class families. But the film could not make an impact mainly because critics felt that the film faced identity crisis as the cast members were unfamiliar.
For 'Gulabi Talkies', Kasaravalli roped in local artistes from the coastal area who fluently speak the dialect used by fisherman.
Kasaravalli cleverly interpolates some of the contemporary issues in the narration, which has the potential to raise a debate on the motives of such reforms.
The film is shot in the coastal town of Kundapura and Kasaravalli skilfully raises issues that concern locals including the neglect of a Muslim woman called Gulabi, social and political consequences of foreign ships fishing along Indian shores.
The film revolves around a Muslim woman called Gulabi, who is an expert midwife. She leads a lonely life after her husband Moosa leaves her and marries another woman. He stays with his second wife in a house close to Gulabi's dwelling. But Gulabi is unperturbed and try to be happy.
Gulabi is passionate about films and goes to the near by town through a boat to watch movies. At times she doesn't mind ignoring her work to catch up a movie.
Although villagers maintain a distance from her, Gulabi is indispensable when it comes to dealing with difficult deliveries.
Through Gulabi, the director highlights the hypocrisy that exists in our society. For instance, when Gulabi brings a colour TV in her house with cable connection, it changes the villagers' perception about her.
The Hindu women in the village, who maintained a distance from Gulabi, are the first to break their resolve and mix with her. Her neighbours, especially children, start thronging her house. Even her deserted husband Moosa visits Gulabi's house to watch films.
Kasaravalli has also been successful in conveying how the Kargil war had cast a shadow on the village and what role religious fanaticism plays in such situations.
The dialogues spoken in the native Kundapura accent are the best part of the film which reflect the emotions of the people.
And Kasaravalli should be lauded for projecting the character of Gulabi. Veteran actress Umashree can truly call the portrayal of Gulabi as her best performance. Umashree convincingly depicts Gulabi's frustration after Moosa's derisive attacks and enjoyment while watching films. You cannot think of any other actress to play such a difficult role so convincingly.
Singer-actress M.D. Pallavi shines with her graceful performance. Krishnamurthy has excelled in the role of Moosa. Local artistes have delivered good performances.
'Gulabi Talkies' boasts of impressive camera work by Ramachandra and Issac Thomas' background score. It is a remarkable film in many ways, including the way the director has shot the film in authentic locales in visually spectacular coastal belt of Karnataka.