Head Bush review: Daali Dhananjay impresses but not the movie

Inspired by Agni Sreedhar’s memoir ‘My Days in the Underworld, ‘Head Bush’ has Daali Dhananjay playing the role of MP Jayaraj.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published:Oct 21, 2022

Daali Dhananjay head bush
A one-time watch that quenches your entertainment thirst!

Head Bush (Kannada)

  • Cast: Dhananjay, Devaraj, Yogesh, Raghu Mukherjee, Balu Nagendra, Vashishtha N Simha, Payal Rajput, Sruthi Hariharan, Shobhraj, Madhusudhan Rao, Poornachandra Mysore
  • Director: Shoonya
  • Producers: Dhananjay and Somanna
  • Music: Charan Raj
  • Runtime: 2 hours 18 minutes

A lot has been written and discussed over the years about what was then Bangalore’s underworld since the days of its supposedly first gangster, MP Jayaraj, came into the picture during the 1970s.

The same has also been extensively documented by the former gangster and now-writer Agni Sridhar in his memoirs — My Days in the Underworld — from which he wrote twice for the screen ventures: Aa Dinagalu and Edegarike.

Unfortunately, Head Bush makes little headway when compared to the cult classic Aa Dinagalu. It falters on various accounts, but the glaring misstep is the display of violence which is why it has been restricted to adult audiences (A certificate).

Since Head Bush is more or less the biopic of Jayaraj, it kicks off as usual by recording his childhood days and then the circumstances that led to him becoming a gangster.

The real picture starts thereafter, with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi talking about the significance of 4 August in 1789 (August Decrees) which witnessed the abolition of the feudal system in France.

That is the link that the writer implies led to the birth of the “Indira Brigade” in Karnataka by the then Chief Minister Devaraj Urs through his son-in-law MD Nataraj, played by Raghu Mukherjee.

Though it sets the tone for an exciting thriller, it soon starts to falter thanks to a slow narrative, and also as it goes overboard on cinematic liberty when working with historical facts.

At times, it gives an impression of Jayaraj being a mass hero on screen rather than a real gangster.

The Indira Brigade

An unofficial wing formed on the lines of Youth Congress, the first volume of many more to come focuses exclusively on the rise and fall of the Indira Brigade.

The politics behind the creation of the Indira Brigade is dealt with at length but isn’t engaging enough to keep the audience captivated.

It is more like a documentary than a well-balanced commercial film which has enough ammunition to fire for an engaging thriller. Head Bush fires in bits and pieces but misses the target on most occasions.

With the wing coming into force, more characters make their way alongside Jayaraj, and his childhood buddies such as Ganga played by Yogesh and Samson played by Balu Nagendra.

Of the very few positives, it is the chemistry between the three which remains a highlight right throughout the movie.

Again, like all glorified biopics, this one, too, gives a sneak peek into the personal life, or rather the love life, of the gangster.

Payal Rajput, who makes her debut in Kannada, plays the love interest of Jayaraj. She is a bar dancer who eventually marries the so-called first underworld don of Bangalore.

Some work has gone into the making of the film, especially to recreate the 1970s on screen; more importantly, the characterisation of lead roles, especially the Jayaraj gang, looks real.

Though some might argue about the way Jayaraj looked in real life after watching the actor in the role, Dhananjay certainly gives his best to bring the character to life on the screen.

head bush dhananjay

Dhananjay in a still from ‘Head Bush’. (Supplied)

Impressive Dhananjay

Dhananjay proves his mettle, yet again, as an actor, and one is left with no doubt why his die-hard fans fondly refer to him as Nata Rakshasa (a demon when it comes to acting).

Despite the overall slowness of the film, Dhananjay maintains the pace, staying true to the character written by Agni Sreedhar.

Apart from putting on some weight, he managed to look quite similar to Jayaraj, even adopting his signature style of smoking and picking up other minute details.

A sure treat for his fans when it comes to performance, this is not for everyone barring a section of the audience that is forever interested in knowing about the dreadful days of the Bangalore underworld.

Ganga and Samson all the way

Both Yogesh and Balu Nagendra, who play Ganga and Samson, respectively, put up an impeccable show.

Ganga’s role gives a fresh lease of life to Yogesh, who has been struggling to find his feet in acting. Balu Nagendra is brilliant as Samson.

Daali head bush

A still from Daali Dhananjay’s latest release ‘Head Bush’. (Supplied)

Head Bush is one of those ventures where the casting is done to near perfection, but the movie, as a whole, disappoints.

Devaraj, Shruthi Hariharan, Raghu and Vashishta Simha (who plays Kothwal Ramachandra Rao) all make sense.

One of the surprises is that of ‘Crazy Star’ Ravichandran who makes a cameo appearance in the film.

The list of disappointments continues with the music, be it the background or the few numbers.

Another reason why Aa Dinagalu became a big hit was because of its brilliant compositions and melodious tracks, which are missing in Head Bush.


Love watching gangster films or interested in underworld days from the past? Then this one is a one-time watch to quench your entertainment thirst for sure.