‘Kaiva’ movie review: Jayathirtha’s gangster drama, starring Dhanveerah, suffers from lack of focus

Dhanveerrah and Megha Shetty in ‘Kaiva’.

Dhanveerrah and Megha Shetty in ‘Kaiva’.
| Photo Credit: Abhuvanasa Creations/YouTube

Jayathirtha Jayanna’s Kaiva is the latest addition to the long list of films on the Bengaluru underworld. The film is about an eventthat took place incidentally on the same day as the 1983 Gangaram building collapse episode, one of the worst tragedies of Bengaluru.

The film’s protagonist, Kaiva (Dhanveerah), migrates to the city from a small town for employment and lives in Thigalrapet, known for hosting Karaga, one of the city’s oldest festivals. Kaiva falls in love with Salma (Megha Shetty), but a shocking event upsets the world of these lovers, turning the film into a revenge saga.

Kaiva suffers from a lack of focus from the director; there seems to be no sense of urgency from Jayathirtha to strengthen the central conflict, as he attempts to pack in too many elements into the plot. For instance, the film begins with an animated puppet show that depicts the origin of Karaga. However, the festival fails to add value to the film apart from one obvious connection between the two.

The portrayal of the Bengaluru mafia isn’t extraordinary either — Nanda Gopal, Uggram Manju, and Raghu Shivomagga are capable performers but, undone by weak characterisation, they seem hardly menacing as villains.

Kaiva (Kannada)

Director: Jayathirtha Jayanna

Cast: Dhanveerrah, Megha Shetty, Dinakar Thoogudeepa, Ramesh Indira, Jayaram Karthik

Runtime: 138 minutes

Storyline: Inspired from true events in the Bengaluru of the 1980s, the film is about a youngster called Kaiva, who takes on gangsters for the sake of his love story.

Jayathirtha also seemed to have been burdened by the challenge of handling a ‘mass’ hero. Kaiva, at regular intervals, transforms itself into a larger-than-life film with dialogues and action sequences written only to enhance the ‘mass’ appeal of Dhanveerah (who delivers a flat performance). This template treatment of a period drama dents the film’s flow.

Jayathirtha is a well-read filmmaker who endorses progressive thinking but his vision is not in sync with the character he has written. Kaiva speaks about religious harmony and Gandhism. But who has influenced Kaiva’s philosophies? Perhaps a quick peek into his past would have given us the answers.

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In the Rishab Shetty-starrer Bell Bottom, Jayathirtha managed to add a retro vibe to the plot. He fails to offer a similar experience with Kaiva. The plot’s core is a love story, which never really gains an emotional heft thanks to cliched writing. Another letdown is the portrayal of a sexual assault scene; it’s high time filmmakers learn to convey the gruesome act through an effective approach rather than showing it graphically.

Kaiva finally finds purpose when the protagonist takes on the perpetrators. In retrospect, the film had great potential to be a taut thriller. Even if the story is from the history books, the filmmaking had room to be inventive and fresh. Jayathirtha is a far better filmmaker than what we see here and Kaiva is a misstep in his interesting career.

Kaiva is currently running in theatres.

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