Kantara movie review: Indian cinema’s most surprisingly divine, exotically rooted & magically engaging movie experience in recent times

Kantara movie review: Indian cinema’s most surprisingly divine, exotically rooted & magically engaging movie experience in recent times

Kantara movie review: Indian cinema’s most surprisingly divine, exotically rooted & magically engaging movie experience in recent times

What : Kantaragood, bad, god, evil, man, animal, nature, need, greed, social division, tradition, spirituality, religion, mystery, reality, action and emotion all are blended perfectly and hits the right note in actor, writer and director Rishab Shetty’s exotically divine and magical film.

Kantara movie synopsis

Set in a fictional village of South Kannada, Kantara highlights the traditional culture of Kambla and Bhootha Kola.

The story begins in the 18th century when a prosperous and kind hearted King in exchange of peace gives a piece of land to the tribal’s. The tribal’s have complete faith in their divine Daiva (God) Bhoota Kola – Lord Vishnu’s Varaha (boar) avatar who is their source of all energy and savior from all evils.

Centuries later, during the traditional and divine Bhoota Kola festival, one of the king’s successor questions the faith of the artiste ((Rishab Shetty) performing Daivaradhane in honor of Bhooth Kola. The greedy successor threatens the villagers and expresses his desire to get the land back through legal proceedings of the Court.

A shocking incident happens; the Daivaradhane artiste disappears while the King’s greedy successor dies.

The incident makes the elder son of the artiste Shiva (Rishab Shetty in dual role) stay away from the traditional Daivaradhane and Bhoota Kola legacy.

The kind hearted but aggressive Shiva loafs around, he is the henchman of the landlord Devendra Suttooru (Achyut Kumar) – son of the greedy successor. Shiva does poaching for his landlord.

Forest officer Murali (Kishore) enters the scene, Murali is a non believer and he wants to follow the state orders to stop the encroachment, violation and poaching in the forest area giving it a man v/s nature twist to the tale.

What will happen to the ancient village of the tribals, what will Shiva do now. How much dubious are the intentions of landlord Devendra Suttooru (Achyut Kumar) who projects the picture of a man who cares for the poor and needy.


Kantara movie review

Certainly, the most surprisingly divine, exotically rooted & magically engaging movie experience by national award winning filmmaker Rishab Shetty (Kirik Party, Sarkari Hi. Pra. Shaale, Kasaragodu, Koduge: Ramanna Rai).

From a youth centric comedy “Kirik Party” to a social political message oriented national award winner “Sarkari Hi. Pra. Shaale, Kasaragodu, Koduge: Ramanna Rai” that highlighted the issue of education in the local Kannada language,  Rishab Shetty in Kantara (meaning mystical forest) dreams mighty big and divine.

A vision that can set an example globally as an exotically divine cinema that talks about god, man, animal, their nature and earth through the divine influence of Lord Vishnu is an exemplary achievement.

After a significant wait, I have found a perfect start and a perfectly soothing and haunting spiritual end in a main stream Indian cinema.

A feat which the poor Bollywood filmmakers or say fakers who are trapped in their wokeism can,t even dream of whereas filmmakers from south like Rajamouli and Rishab Shetty are able to do.

Though Kantara has nothing much novel, it’s the age old man vs nature, landlords and poor villagers, corrupt police officers, a kindhearted popular gaon ka chora – Shiva who is into petty things and always scolded by her mother Kamala (Manasi Sudhir). An honest pious brother Guruva (Swaraj Shetty) who is taking the legacy of the family forward. And yes of course protagonist love interest Leela (Sapthami Gowda).

So Kantara runs on a typical Indian quintessential commercial entertainer, but the seamlessly divine twining of the coastal Karnataka’s culture, Hindu religion, Lord Vishnu Daiva (God) Bhoota Kola – Lord Vishnu’s Varaha (boar) avatar gives the movie its definite magical and spiritual edge.

For the Indian audience in general, Kantara clicks and keeps on hitting the right notes, the action, the romance, the class struggle and of course the local flavor.

For those who watch movies a bit seriously, the rooting of Indian culture and the divine influence make it a cut above.


A Rishab Shetty show all the way, the writer director as an actor in his role Shiva is just terrific. The Daivaradhane Bhooth Kola ritual dance and the mind blowing climax is an experience which cannot be missed.

Kishore as Murali the forest officer is fabulous.

Achyuth Kumar as Landlord Devendra Suttooru is in his element.  

Pramod Shetty as Sudhakara has his moments.

Sapthami Gowda as Leela is decent and Manasi Sudhir as Kamala, Shiva's mother is competent.


A movie is a visual delight. He reason why we should watch movies on big screen, Arvind Kashyap cinematography is exceptional. The way the festival rituals and the Daivaradhane Bhooth Kola ritual dance is shot its pure class.

Ajaneesh Loknath’s music moves along smoothly and flows with the flow uninterrupted. The Hindi dubbing is fine. Kantara is a brilliantly crafted piece of cinema.


Rishab Shetty’s passion to go through the populist route fails in generating the natural/organic connect at times. Some things are just included to please the common audience which was not required. Why the mother has to be scolding his son always. Why that tharki character who chases females included?, for cheap laughs?. Humour can be generated by other means as well. Rishab Shetty is a filmmaker with a bigger and better vision; such filmmakers should stay away from populisms.

Final words

It won’t be a surprise if Rishab Shetty’s Kantara walks away with major awards including the forthcoming nationals. Kantara is not just a brilliantly crafted, surprisingly divine and exotically rooted cinema it’s a magically engaging and divine experience which is very very rare. The climax is an event filled with goose bumps that ends with a soothing spiritual moment on screen.


Kantara review in Hindi

Kantara movie review in Hindi 

Rating : 4.5/5

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About vishal verma

vishal verma

A child born from life & fed by cinema. A filmi keeda from child & a film journalist for the last fifteen years. a father, seeker, foodie who loves crooning bollywood melodies twitter.com/cineblues More By vishal verma

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