A tribute to Kurosawa’s samurai stories, resurrecting a South Indian martial arts technique which survives mainly in the Kerala- based form of the Kalaripayattu. The film is set in 13th C. Karnataka during the Hoysala dynasty (AD1073-1327), when small princelings fought each other for domination, often hiring martial arts experts. The plot focuses on the war between two rival brothers, Kapardi (Thakkar) and Maranayaka (Nakkod), who had already disposed of their elder sibling. The terrain is the margin between the Deccan plains and the Malnad jungles. Nag’s Kannada debut appearance sees him in the Mifune-inspired role of the cynical and individualistic mercenary Gandugali whose main antagonist is the equally proficient but more tradition-bound Permadi (Urs), the general of the opposing force. When the rival brothers betray their own soldiers, Ganduguli and Permadi join forces to fight the pretenders to the throne. Gandugali dies in the epic battle but Permadi succeeds in saving the real heir to the throne, Jayakeshi (Joshi), and peace is restored to the kingdom. The exuberant action consists mainly of swordplay, martial arts training and duels. The art directors Jayoo and Nachiket Patwardhan, architects who turned film-makers in their own right, researched the period details for this ballad-like tale. Karnad claims the film sets out to transcend the narrowly anti-brahminical agenda of most Kannada New Cinema’s independents at the time.