Shakhahaari review: A vegetarian thriller that tastes just like pure non-veg!

Rangayana Raghu as Subbanna in ‘Shakhahaari’ is too good to be true in an unusual thriller with an ‘unbelievable’ ending.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published:Feb 17, 2024

Shakhahaari is directed by Sandeep Sunkad

Shakhahaari (Kannada)

15-02-2024, Crime, Thriller, 2 hours 26 minutes U/A
  • Main Cast: Vinay Jarimalli, Rangayana Raghu, Gopal Deshpande, Nidhi Hegde, and Harini Shreekanth
  • Director: Sandeep Sunkad
  • Producer: Ranjini Prasanna and Rajesh Keelambi
  • Music Director: Mayur Ambekallu
  • Cinematography: Vishwajith Rao



What is essential for a crime thriller? Undoubtedly, the crime itself and the vital factor of surprise elements.

These elements must deliver sufficient suspense, strategically unveiled at the right moment and in the right amount to captivate and satisfy the audience.

Or simply, the thriller must adopt the expect-the-expected formula!

Does Shakhahaari (meaning vegetarian) have enough ingredients to make this a good crime thriller? Let’s investigate…


Shakhahaari unravels with Subrahmanya alias Subbanna (Rangayana Raghu) seen chopping a dead body into pieces at his hotel. He then burns the pieces of the body in his kitchen.

The bloody sight peps up the tempo as to what is in store for another two-plus hours.

Rangayana Raghu in Shakhahaari

Rangayana Raghu in ‘Shakhahaari’. (X)

This one falls under a unique mix of the whodunit and howcatchem categories.

In a whodunit, the perpetrator is not known until the end. However, a howcatchem typically begins with the depiction or narration of the crime and often reveals the perpetrator’s identity.

The narrative then follows the detective’s efforts to untangle the mystery as it unfolds.

Back to the start of the “bloody” start, the scene shifts to the day when all is fine.

Subanna is still an eligible bachelor in his 50s. On the other hand, Sub-inspector of Police Mallikarjun (Gopal Deshpande) has a personal and professional problem going hand-in-hand.

He is about to get transferred, but technically, he cannot be relieved until a murder accused whom he arrested is produced in the court after filing a chargesheet.

When such is the case, the accused escapes from the station and somehow lands in Subanna’s place.

So, what is the whole connection between the murder accused, Subanna butchering a body, and the police officer’s ever-growing problems?

There is also a lovely tale beautifully inserted amid this murder mystery.

Catch the rest of the story at a theatre near you. It is worth it!

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Seasoned performances

Seasoned actor Rangayana Raghu has recently been honoured with the title “Abhinayasura”, meaning a demon in acting. He delivers yet another performance, which is true to his title.

Subanna, who runs a vegetarian hotel in a small town, is an eligible bachelor for a reason. He runs his daily affairs with a fixed routine, including his limited menu: dosa, lemon rice, avalakki, idli, and tea or kashaya.

Both as a cook and hotel owner, Subanna’s character is quite content but for one desire.

Gopal Deshpande, as SI Mallikarjun, has problems galore—find the missing accused and then get himself relieved to attend to his ailing wife.

Vijay (Vinay Jarimalli)’s married life leading to him becoming the murder accused adds another interesting layer to the story.

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Making process

Writer-director Sandeep Sunkad brings in all the ingredients for a vegetarian crime on a single platter as the second half initiates serious findings in the thriller.

A little bit of humour, tense moments and romantic tales are evenly used to make it tastier.

A couple of melodious songs elevate the mood.

The supporting cast has enough depth in their characters that they become a crucial part of the larger picture.

While all looks fine, the climax part is a bit unconvincing, with too many body counts in the end.

Barring the last few moments where the missing dots come together to reveal the suspense, the overdoing of killings is indigestible.

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Barring the climax, which could have been slightly modified for a more convincing watch, Shakhahaari gets a thumbs up for the unique blend of suspense, performances, and the making of it.

Watch it for “Abhinayasura”!

(Views expressed here are personal.)