Kantara The Legend | MINDVOICES

Kantara The Legend

Kantara is a wonderful movie from the direction of Rhishab Shetty and produced by Hombale films with a budget of 16 crores.  The Story set against the backdrop of Tulu Nadu (intersects Karnataka and Kerala) which has a unique culture and traditions such as  Kambala (Buffalo race in water-filled paddy fields), Bhuta Kola (Animistic ritual dance in honour of local deities) was featured in the film as a major play in the mystic drama. Panjurli is a local deity worshipped in the region and the man dancing in the Bhoot Kala festival wears the Varaha face mask (Panjurili).

The film is rooted in its culture, land and people and also cited the conflict between nature and human beings. This deeply rooted film sets in the 18 century showing a King distributing the land to the native tribal people for their well-being. Later in the 1960s, the descendants of King tries to reclaim the ancestors land from the tribal community.  But the attempt failed after the descendants dies a mysterious death in the court while he tries to battle for land in the court.  

In the 1990s, the Range Forest Officer helmed by Kishore as a determined officer tried to convert the tribal land into reserved areas for the better management and conservation of forest areas.  Shiva the protagonist from the tribe who rebels against the government officials who tries for the conversion of forest into Reserved area and clearing of tribal encroachments. Devendra the feudal landlord wants to retrieve his ancestor’s land which was given to the tribal people.   The conflict between the landlord, tribe and government based on land ownership is conveyed through mystical drama with an animistic element in it.

As a film on Social Take, it talks about Caste discrimination, tribal beliefs and customs, land alienation and tribal livelihood based on forest. Tribals depend on their livelihood based on forest produce and the certain excessiveness of forest officers affects their lives at large.  On the other hand, There is a real problem surrounding nature when trees were cut illegally and the forest produce goes to illegal timber merchants and smugglers.  To protect the forest, the authorities tried to evict the tribals and provide rehabilitation to the areas away from the forest.   But the tribal dependence on forests and forced tribal migration cannot be long ignored by the government.

The film is brilliant in narration, fetches you an immersive experience, and on reaching the climax in the play of Bhuta Kola where Shiva in Varaha's roopam.  It was shown that the Panjurili deity embraces both the local tribe and the government officer together.  In the symbolic interactionism, it is understood that the conservation of nature and tribal development can be done by striking the right balance and the right involvement of tribal people as well as government interventions to be put together.  Dereservation of forests for the tribals could be more sympathetic but the government can be strict on controlling illegal smugglers with the best utilization of technology.

Kantara is an amazing experience to watch the age-old intergenerational mystic stories in a grandeur way.  Hard work, dedication and sincere efforts of the filmmakers never go in vain.