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Konda Polam: Krish’s Fabulous Forest Fable Is Willing & Able – By Subhash K Jha

13

Konda Polam

Starring Panja Vaisshnav Tej and Rakul Preet Singh

Directed by Krish Jagarlamudi

Rating: ****

There is something seriously amiss in Man’s ageless relationship with Nature. The recent pandemic is more proof of eco-imbalances that have brought civilization to the brink of disaster.

Seen in this context of a rapidly self-destructive civilization . the astoundingly versatile Krish Jagarlamudi’s new venture Konda Polam is of immense importance.

It addresses the uneasy relationship between Man and Nature without tripping over its own self-righteousness.

Selfrighteous, it sure is. But not at the cost of making the narrative excessively preachy.

The wide panoramic view of the forest area as shot by the amazing cinematographer Gmana Shekar VS, and the evocative songs and background music by M M Keeravani go a long way in imbuing a magnetic energy to the narrative.

In terms of the ecologically relevant issues that the powerful plot , based on a celebrated novel by Sannapureddy Venkata Rami Reddy, raises , this film is a rare achievement.

How many Indian films in recent (or for that matter remote) times have been shot in the thick forests barring the tacky Sherni(where the only animal that needed taming was the director’s unruly vision).

Krish’s captivating fabulous fable ventures into the deepest parts of the Nallamala forests.

The camera knows the area well. This film doesn’t forget lose its way in the wilderness.

Krish has always been a focussed storyteller. His characters never get lost in the impressive landscape that they inhabit.

If Konda Polam is a visual and emotional feast, it is because the story doesn’t slip off from edges.

The centre holds even when an anarchic array of character-based episodes is let loose.

Even as Vaisshnav Tej occupies centre stage as a young man torn between his traditional heritage and worldly ambitions,the director has maintained the novel’s vast gallery of nomadic characters.

Some of the shepherds who flock into the plot seem redundant. I did feel that the film could have worked even better with less incidental characters and a more tightly edited narration.However , the pace though not neat , never lacks grace.

The CGs where Tej’s Ravindra Yadav faces the wrath of a raging tiger, roar with energy and verve.

This is one of the most accomplished Man versus Nature films I’ve seen with a stand-out performance by Vaisshnav Tej.After seeing him in Uppena I suspected that this is an actor whose eyes speak louder than words. Now I am sure.

Among the other actors Sai Chand as Vaisshnav’s father and Ravi Prakash(pleading with his wife on the public to not leave him as he disappears into the mountains with his goats) are deeply effective. Rakul Preet Singh’s role and performance would have worked better if she had avoided the groomed look. Have you ever seen a shepherdess with long manicured nails?

Not that I’ve seen too many(groomed or otherwise).Konda Polam takes us into places that we tend not to visit. It reminds us of a people and a civilization that politicians and bureaucrats either exploit or ignore. Never nurture. This film does that beautifully ,

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