Kanagal’s colour debut continues his neo- expressionist psychodramas. Ramachari (Vishnuvardhan), Kanagal’s first male protagonist, is a ‘cobra’, i.e. a hunched, unpredictable, phallocentric creature, disinterested in his studies and dreaded by his teachers and neighbours. He falls in love with Alamelu (Arathi), but the relationship is discouraged by his teacher, the only man able to influence him. The cobra then falls in love with Margaret (Shobha). Alamelu marries another man and Ramachari discovers, in the lobby of a hotel with a gaudy fountain, that she has become a prostitute. Eventually, Ramachari pushes his teacher off a cliff and commits suicide along with his Christian girlfriend. Characteristically, Kanagal uses the skeletal plot to elaborate a long drama, set in the mountainous wilds of the Chitradurga region. Its major constituent is the stylised, reptilian performance of Vishnuvardhan, making his film debut. It extends into several fantasy sequences of women running in slow motion in a rocky landscape, the rebellious Nanna rosha number set to a marching beat, and the climactic hotel sequence as Alamelu bursts into song to explain her condition. Subba Rao, aka Ta.Ra.Su., wrote the original story but later disowned the film, causing furious supporters of Kanagal to attack him for not having understood his own story. It was remade by Kanagal in Hindi as Zehreela Insaan (1974), starring Rishi Kapoor.
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"Nagarahavu" is re-releasing in its digitized version on July 20, 2018. Read More