S Shyam Prasad
Anthologies can turn out to be experimental when more than one director is involved. With no less than five directors churning out five different stories, this movie effortlessly manages to stand out in the crowd.
The common thread that connects these five stories is death, which is made amply clear by the use of a crow as the film’s mascot and a metaphor throughout. The presence of death does not mean the stories are about it; just that there is a death in every story. And death can come to not just lives, but to ideas, ideologies, beliefs and hope.
The sense of purpose in these five stories is their biggest advantage. The shortest story (length-wise) of the lot is directed by Akash Srivatsa (of Shivaji Surathkal fame). He presents a retired teacher’s obsession with Mysore Pak and interestingly builds a story about relationships through it. The story is however predictable and could have been well done with more commercial touch. Debutant Kiran Kumar picks up a caste conflict in a village that erupts over the accidental death of a child. How this incident results in the uprising of an entire community is neatly presented.
Chandra Mohan’s comedy take on a dejected person’s unsuccessful suicide attempt is easily the most dissimilar story of the lot. This director sticks to his core competence of comedy and this story has a brilliant script. Raghu Shivamogga’s story on a youth in a honey trap is visually stunning and resonates with the contemporary concerns. It also combines action with drama and is quite entertaining. Guru Deshpande’s final piece on a rowdy-turned-Kannada activist’s life has rightly ruffled many feathers as it boldly portrays both sides of the story without batting an eyelid.
It is inevitable that these five stories compete among themselves to be judged the best of the lot. Though connected by the metaphor of death, each story is quite unique and it would be a disservice to put each on a different pedestal for being in the same lineup. However, the stories directed by Guru Deshpande (Kannada activist) and Raghu Shivamogga (Sex trap) have a more cinematic appeal than the others. Kiran Kumar’s story shows great concern and may have been better explored as an individual film.
Each of the stories has good actors dotting them. While the faceoff between Kishore and Pruthvi Ambar is awesome, that between P Ravishankar and Pritika Deshpande is commendable. Tanisha Kuppanda as a seductress and Prakash Belawadi as a no-nonsense cop fit the bill perfectly. The theme song stands out and could not have been better. It suits the film to perfection. Manikant Kadri deserves special mention.
At almost three hours long, the film might feel tiresome, but the stories are refreshing. They also have uneven duration which could have been better planned. With time being the most important resource, it is the audience who need to plan their visit to the theatres impeccably.
Film: Pentagon Directors: Guru Deshpande, Raghu Shivamogga, Akash Srivatsa, Chandra Mohan, Kiran Kumar Cast: Kishore, P Ravishankar, Pruthvi Ambar, Prakash Belawadi, Pramod Shetty, Pritika Deshpande, Tanisha Kuppanda Duration: 174 minutes Certificate: A