Kantara The Legend | Film Analysis

Kantara rhishab Shetty

Kantara: A Captivating Film Rooted in the Unique Culture of Tulu Nadu

"Kantara" is a captivating film directed by Rhishab Shetty and produced by Hombale films with a budget of 16 crores. The story is set in the unique cultural region of Tulu Nadu, which encompasses Karnataka and Kerala, and features captivating traditions such as Kambala (Buffalo race in water-filled paddy fields) and Bhuta Kola (Animistic ritual dance in honor of local deities). The film highlights the conflict between human beings and nature and is deeply rooted in the region's culture, land, and people.

A Brilliantly Narrated Social Commentary on Land Alienation and Tribal Livelihood

The plot spans three different time periods, beginning in the 18th century when a king distributed land to the tribal people for their well-being. In the 1960s, the descendants of the king attempted to reclaim the ancestral land from the tribal community but failed when the claimant mysteriously died in court. Fast forward to the 1990s, where the range forest officer Kishore attempts to convert tribal land into reserved areas for forest conservation, but the protagonist, Shiva, rebels against the government officials, who are attempting to clear the tribal encroachments. Meanwhile, Devendra, a feudal landlord, wants to retrieve his ancestor's land, which was given to the tribal people.

As a social commentary, the film highlights caste discrimination, tribal beliefs and customs, land alienation, and the tribal livelihood based on the forest. The tribal people depend on the forest for their livelihood, and the excessive actions of forest officers negatively affect their lives. The government attempts to evict the tribals and provide rehabilitation, but the tribal dependence on forests and forced migration cannot be ignored.

The film is brilliantly narrated, offering an immersive experience that culminates in a stunning climax, where Shiva appears in the form of Varaha during the Bhuta Kola play. The Panjurili deity is shown to embrace both the local tribe and the government officer, symbolizing that nature conservation and tribal development can be achieved by striking the right balance and involving tribal people and government interventions. Dereservation of forests for the tribals should be approached with more sympathy, while the government can be strict in controlling illegal smugglers with the help of technology.

Overall, "Kantara" is a phenomenal film that tells intergenerational mystic stories in a grand way. The filmmakers' hard work, dedication, and sincere efforts are evident, making this film a must-watch.