Oh! what a monumental mish-mash of magical material. Here was cracker of a saga, true to life, screaming for scorcher of a treatment. But, debutant director K M Chaitanya, turns it into damp squib.
With a more eclectic approach Chaitanya surely could have turned ‘Aa Dinagalu’ into a classic. Here was cinema a la a Godfather, Nayakan and Company. But alas! it has been smothered by mundane direction to such an extent that it never rises above the mediocre. Given that it is his own life experience, ‘Agni’ Sridhar should have put his soul into the screenplay which stands out like a sour puss.
Focusing on Bangalore’s infamous face, Aa Dinagalu focusses on City’s underworld of the eighties where the likes of Kothwal Ramachandra, Oil Kumar, Jairaj and other rabids, ruled the roost riddling the City with bullets and bodies in their internecine gang wars for one-upmanship.
Sadly, Chaitanya deals with the subject in a straight, staccato fashion that renders Aa Dinagalu more like docu-feature than a film that sparkles with auteur’s classic feel of the medium. The film runs on two strands. If one tracks the dons and their deeds, the other unspools an archetypal love saga strewn with proverbial parental pinprick thanks to caste conflict that comes into play. Both run concurrently at their own listless pace lulling one to sleep before the final denouement when the twain meet.
Fluent editing (could have been bit more taut), excellent background score by maestro Illayaraja and evocative cinematography (that captures City’s tourist spots in all its pristine, soft-focus glory), are Aa Dinagalu’s mainstay. Chaitanya & Co which includes seasoned veterans like Girish Karnad, Atul Kulkarni, Ashish Vidayarthi, and debutants Archana & Chetan could have done better job.
Still, Chaitanya’s Aa Dinagalu is a wee off mainstream, thanks to its technical finesse. It should be comforting that there lurks promise in Chaitanya who has sought to get a feel of the medium rather than plunge into superlative cinema giving full play to his metier.