Kotee review: Finally a film made for Kannadigas amidst the pan-India hullabaloo

If you're someone who complains there aren't too many well-written films being made in Kannada for Kannada audiences, watch this one.

BySunayana Suresh

Published:Jun 21, 2024

A poster of the film Kotee

Kotee (Kannada)

14-06-2024, Drama, Thriller, 2 hours 49 minutes U/A
Theatre
  • Main Cast:Dhananjaya, Moksha Kushal, Ramesh Indira, Tara Anooradha, Pruthvi Shamanur, Thanuja Venkatesh, Abhishek Srikanth
  • Director:Param
  • Producer:Jyoti Deshpande
  • Music Director:Vasuki Vaibhav and Nobin Paul
  • Cinematography:Arun Bhrama

Rating

3.5/5

Kotee has Dhananjaya playing the titular role. The title holds a lot of significance as not only is it the protagonist’s name, but the meaning—one crore—also has a significant importance to the protagonist’s life. How does Kotee who wants to choose the righteous path steer his way in a city that believes “there’s a thief inside every human”, form the plot of this drama.

The biggest grouse that most film fans in Karnataka seem to have over the past couple of years is how every big star, production house, and filmmaker has been bitten by the pan-Indian bug and have somewhere forgotten the native Kannada audience in this process.

This is a valid emotion. Thankfully, Jio Studios in its first venture breaks this trend and has catered to the audience’s wish by making a film that primarily focuses on entertaining the Kannada audience.

A perfect package

Lead pair of Kotee

Lead pair of ‘Kotee’. (X)

Kotee also has a collaboration between two very passionate storytellers, director Param and actor Dhananjaya. Param has been instrumental in shaping the growth and reach of Kannada television today as one of its biggest pillars, while Dhananjaya has ensured his content appeals to the common masses who watch Kannada cinema.

And Kotee rightfully is a film that symbolises this collaboration and has a refreshing take on a story that could have fallen the same old path of being a macho, testosterone-heavy action drama.

If I were to sum it up simply, the idea that I saw in my interpretation of Kotee was—what if the powerful, smart, and full-package hero chose to say no to going about the blood bath and gory road and instead chose to stick to his principles.

This is not new I agree, we have had filmmakers across the country, with star directors like Shankar, touch upon such subjects. But what Param does and stands out when he attempts to touch this genre is his control and restraint at moments that most filmmakers would give in to get those extra mass-y moments.

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Kotee makes for an engaging watch

This does not mean that Kotee does not have mass elements. The mass lies in clever spaces, like Kotee’s sister Mahathi and brother Nachchi, in one scene, explaining to Kotee the difference between stealing and inspiration using a Mahatma Gandhi quote as a reference, or the director’s usage of little elements to signify mass moments like HS Venkatesha Murthy’s poem “Amma Naanu Devaraane” playing at significant moments. These are just a few elements that make Kotee an intriguing and engaging watch.

That said, there are a few elements that do hold back Kotee from being that flawless entertainer.

One of the biggest reasons is the run time of nearly three hours. While the music in Kotee is wonderful, one feels that some of the songs do hamper the pace.

These, along with a few other moments, could have been trimmed to ensure a more holistic experience at the cinema halls. But that does not take away the fact that Kotee is a big win for its writing, which is one of the biggest reasons to enjoy the film.

Also read: Kannada film industry first half 2024: High on content, low on box office

Dhananjaya shines as an actor

Dhananjaya in 'Kotee'. (Supplied)

Dhananjaya in ‘Kotee’. (Supplied)

Dhananjaya excels in a role that seems to be very in his zone, where he gets to showcase a range of emotions as well as do some action for his mass audiences. Ramesh Indira excels as the villain in a role that is more than just a one-tone bad guy. Tara Anooradha, Thanuja Venkatesh, and Pruthvi Shamanur bring in the heartwarming fact in their roles as Kotee‘s family. Abhishek Srikanth in a limited role manages to leave an impression. Moksha Kushal looks pretty and gets a nicely fleshed-out character where she gives an earnest performance.

Final take

Kotee is a visual and audio treat, making it a good watch. This has a controlled amount of action, with a lot of emotions and some comedy making it a good family outing. If you’re someone who complains there aren’t too many well-written films being made in Kannada for Kannada audiences, watch this one.

(Views expressed here are personal.)

(Edited by S Subhakeerthana)

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