Verdict: Strong story, weak execution
Once in a while do movies in Sandalwood have stories that grasp your imagination from the very first frame – Ricky could have been so much more. What starts out as a slow narrative of two families intertwined by fate, love and a lot more slowly devolves into a regular love story between two young children who grow up to love each other, as the story pendulums between Mangalore and Bangalore. From the green vivid fields of Dakshina Kannada the story tangents, quite unnecessarily, to Dachigam National Park in Jammu & Kashmir, with no real effect on the main storyline. It’s almost like the snow-capped peaks, green vales and beautiful landscapes of J&K were merely used as decorations that, literally, served no real purpose.
The narrative also manages to weave in Malnad’s love-affair with the Naxalite movement. A beautifully-crafted voiceover by Sudeep manages to seamlessly connect communism to Naxalism (slightly problematic) and the film does come across as being slightly pro-Naxal. The film is ridden with beautiful poetry, some delivered by actual characters in the narrative and others in the voiceover that the film begins and ends with.
Hariprriya manages to essay the role of a Naxal rebel to the dot. She reminds one of Nandita Das’ beautiful portrayal of a LTTE cadre in Kannathil Mutthamittaal. What irks the audience is the sudden need for the hero to take center stage. A strong, almost ferocious Hariprriya, once she falls back in love, suddenly morphs from strong lioness into meek lamb while Rakshit Shetty fights ten bad guys at a time. So annoyingly predictable!
The film is entertaining for sure and post-interval, the plot really keeps you glued to the screen. It’s the unnecessary need to bring back the hero, as the savior, that annoys mostly. The music is good, but most songs do not stick with you. Yele Mareyali by Naveen Sajju with Sudeep’s voice-over is heart-wrenching and a must watch/listen. Jeeva Neenu by Rajesh Krishnan also manages to strike a chord. Arjun Janya’s music does work for this film, though some songs are very unnecessary.
Rishab Shetty has managed to craft a decent movie, but so much more could have been done. That said, we’re thankful for a film that proudly portrays the Laal Salaam movement of Karnataka’s Western Ghats. Kudos for that!
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
For Hariprriya. For revolutionary poetry. For Sudeep’s voice. For a fresh story.
— By L Romal M Singh