Sometimes, its very important to speak out things that might be difficult for the other person to hear. In fact, it is more difficult for the speaker to convey negative thoughts, more if it is about someone/something that he/she likes. But then, keeping quiet can only cause damage things further.
So, I am one among those millions of fans of Puneeth Rajkumar. I wouldn't say that I am a die hard fan but I have been seriously impressed by his performance and persona over a period of time. In fact, somehow, I have ended up watching his recent movies on the day of release. Jackie - first day last show at Navrang theater left me stunned. Paramathma and Hudugaru were wonderful too. Anna Bond was another interesting movie. It so happened that, all of a sudden, three of us decided to watch a movie. In fact, I generally go theater on weekends but because one of us was supposed to travel the next day, we had to agree on going out of Thursday. Coincidentally, Ninnindale was released on the same day. Every theater was running full. We finally managed some tickets at Fun Cinemas for the last show.
There is no doubt that I had great expectations from the movie. There is a certain class that Puneeth Rajkumar has established over the last 12 years of working in the Kannada Movie Industry. I can specifically say that though he is the son of Kannada superstar Dr Rajkumar, it is because of his consistent performance that he has succeeded. This is one key reason why appeals to me. When I was in Sainik School, Bijapur, I would hardly watch Kannada movies. In fact, none of us (my classmates) did. But then, with Appu in 2002, there was a revival of our interest in Kannada movies. Abhi in 2003 and Veera Kannadiga in 2004 took this interest to greater heights. Undoubtedly, by the time we completed schooling, many of us turned out to be his fans. That is perhaps one reason why we end up watching his movies together, now, even after 10 years of school.
After that, during my college days, I have watched most of his movies, a few in theater and some on the TV. Movies like Akash, Arasu, Milana continued to impress me. Puneeth Rajkumar is titled as Power Star for his powerful performances in movies like this. Even today, when these movies are shown on the TV, I watch them again, again and again. After moving to Bangalore, I have been watching almost all his movies on day one. It started with Jackie, which has been one of his super hit movies.
Coming back to Ninnindale, the movie certainly doesn't meet Puneeth Rajkumar's standards. A major portion of the movie has been messed up due to the average story that has little strength. The songs are extremely annoying. Considering that the movie makers claim this to be a silent love story, the songs are the most critical part of the movie and the director should have focused more on them. The voice dubbing for Erica Fernandes is very apparent and makes it disgusting to watch. because the words don't sync. The first half of the movie gets lost in touring NY, rock climbing, etc., which could have been cut down to one song of 3-4 minutes or better, completely eliminated. Comedy, a critical component of Kannada movies, is missing. It was quintessential for a movie like this. The movie has hired so many super brilliant supporting cast but has not used them at all. I felt that the role didn't suit Puneeth Rajkumar. Even the other characters in the movie could have been represented better. It was appalling to see people walk out of the theater during the second half.
May be, in my personal opinion, Puneeth should have avoided this movie. He has such an excellent track record and such a huge fan following that an ordinary movie is not acceptable. I could understand if it was a newcomer who did this movie but not Puneeth. Often, over a period of time, actors build a repute and a USP that makes them superstars. Puneeth's USP is not put into work in this movie. He tries to do something different, a good attempt, but difficult for people to digest. However, there are several others with an opinion that the movie had some spectacular stunts and has a great story. So, there are definitely a good number of people who have liked the movie in its current form.
I don't want to sound biased but there are plentiful Kannada actresses out there. Erica Fernandes is awesome. There is no doubt. But then, when you have to take someone who can't speak the language, the voice dubbing has to be done very effectively. Else, it messes up the movie.The movie makers have to ensure that the prime characters of the movie make a good match with the story. Choosing movies that don't sync with your persona can result in extremes, either you take beating or a you form a new persona. Such events dilute the appeal of an actor.
I look forward to see the next movie and hope that it will stand up and make up for the dent that Ninnindale has created. There is a long way to go.