ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​​​​​​​Deconstructing Kantara

A Heady Mix of Metaphysics, Local Traditions and Class Struggle

Kantara touches upon critical aspects of culture, economy and polity, but is undone by its male centricity.

Kantara (2022) is a movie that successfully transcends space and time. Put simply, it is universal and eternal—a story about the perpetual conflict between humans and nature. Contrary to popular perception, Kantara is much more than just a revenge drama. It reveals the darker shades of humanity. An eclectic combination of folklore, traditions, lust for land and class struggles, Kantara is decidedly populist yet masterfully artful. In his quest to recreate his lived experiences, film-maker Rishab Shetty, who also plays the protagonist (Shiva) in the movie, creates a cinematic extravaganza that is haunting and mesmerising at the same time.

Kantara is a local tale narrated for a global audience. Set in coastal Karnataka, the movie dabbles with several traditional elements. First, the protagonist Shiva is an accomplished Kambala athlete. Kambala is an extremely popular buffalo race that is played in the Tulu Nadu region comprising a
couple of districts in south Karnataka and one district in Kerala. Second, the entire movie is woven around Buta Kola, which is a mystical dance form practised in the same region. Third, not only has the film-maker shot the entire movie around a forest but also set it as the larger motif for his story. Fourth, the movie signifies the unending battle for forest rights in India—one between the forest dwellers and the government. Last but not the least, the film is an authentic cultural representation of the region’s inhabitants.

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Updated On : 16th Jan, 2023
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