If Bannerghatta was released in theaters, I am sure at least one guy in the audience would have screamed at the idiot hero for not speaking up. Bannerghatta wants to feel like a mysterious thriller. But it has no clue about what to become eventually. In the beginning, they have placed certain horror elements to make us feel that this is some sort of spooky road movie. Then it becomes this kidnapping thriller, and how it ends eventually is in a pretty lame way.
So Bannerghatta is built around this central character named Ashiq. We are not given many details about his life. We get this picture from the phone conversations that he has a wife and kid, and the relationship isn’t smooth. He also has some financial liabilities, and the guy isn’t that clean. When the story happens, he is traveling in his Omni van to deliver something. And during that journey, he gets a call from his sister saying she got late after her interview in Bangalore, and the call ended abruptly, making it clear for Ashiq that something wrong has happened. What we see in the movie is Ashiq using all his contacts to know about the status of his sister.
When your sister is in some sort of trouble, and you are waiting for her call and the night patrol police take your phone away, what would anyone with basic common sense do? Tell them the truth to get the phone back, right? But our hero here is acting like he is about to give a birthday surprise to police officers by just saying, “please give me the phone, sir. It’s important”. Writers Arjun and Gokul want to create tension. But their writing has no regard for the common sense of the viewer. At the beginning of the movie, you have the hero narrating a creepy story to his son over the phone, and once you finish the movie, you won’t even find a genuine reason for those pointless detours in a film that wasn’t even 90 minutes long.
Directed by Vishnu Narayanan, Bannerghatta doesn’t have clarity. It’s almost like the team decided to go behind a micro-budget concept of a single character road movie. Personally, I am a sucker for such concepts. But here, the writers have an idea about the tension they want to create, but they don’t know how to reach that point. The purpose of the road trip of the hero has a role in the story. But again, if Ashiq had used common sense and told the police why exactly he was there, he wouldn’t have faced any of these issues. The efforts of the makers to make this irresponsible and sloppy guy a sacrificing figure made me do a facepalm.
Karthik Ramakrishnan is very stiff in terms of expressions and dialogue delivery. The movie wants us to feel some sort of empathy towards this character. Perhaps that’s why they included the storytelling track and the concerns of a brother in the tale. But the stale performance of the leading man just doesn’t help the script that is already clueless about building a gripping narrative.
There are movies that have used their limitations to the best by working on the craft in the making. But Bannerghatta makes its limitations an excuse to deliver mediocre content. When I look at the movie in totality, I don’t even feel it would have worked as a short film. And the fundamental issue is that beyond the idea of placing the central character on a journey, there is no layering or aim to this wannabe thriller.
At the beginning of the movie, you have the hero narrating a creepy story to his son over the phone, and once you finish the movie, you won't even find a genuine reason for those pointless detours.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended