May 20, 2019 [movies] #corruption #cinema #kannada

This was a delicious little Kannada film I saw over the past weekend. During a road-widening project in present day Bangalore, skeletons are discovered. A relentless cop - a traffic cop(!) -  investigates the past, and that leads to some very severe consequences in the present. Like Blow Out (1981), Chinatown (1974), and closer home, Shanghai (2012), the protagonist is compelled by some unknown force to investigate a particular situation in the face of apathy by everyone else around him, and the strings he pulls leads to disastrous consequences to people close to him.

Unlike the other three, Kavaludaari holds on to a bit of hope at the end. Usually when that happens, it feels like a cheap compromise. In this case though, it feels like it coudln't have ended any other way, considering our protagonist, Shyam. He is dedicated to his job, and is very likable unlike Jake Gittes or the sleazy Joginder Parmar.  He wants to move to the crime branch, but he just happens to be too good at his job to be let go of. His parents want him to get married, and we are introduced to the girls, one after after another. They all reject him because they don't want to lead a cop's life. He seems to take it in his stride. You have to like him, right? No self-pity unlike his Tamil counterparts.

Only thing I wish this movie did better was to resist the temptation to tie all the knots. Some threads could have been left alone, giving the audience more to chew on. But it doesn't over-explain in its attempts at doing that, and for that alone I would recommend it. As a bonus, it's a much more polished thriller than Thadam or the other recent Tamil ones.