Saturday, May 06, 2006

Stumble (2003)

Featuring: Anant Nag, Suhasini, MD Pallavi, Mukhyamantrui Chandru, Ashok Mandanna and others.
Directed by: Prakash Belawadi.

Finally a movie that talks about the technology our land seems to be so proud of. The land of Karnataka and especially Bangalore have been put on the international map thanks to this newfound miracle drug our economy has been administered with. I had always found it ironic that despite being home to so many global corporations et al, our film makers had never ventured into one socially relevant feature that showed us the in and outs of the industry. That irony is laid to rest for a little while at least with Prakash Belavadi’s feature - Stumble.

Anand Rao(Anant) – a retired bank official and Nandini (Suhasini) are leading a simple yet self-sufficient upper middle class life in the suburbs of Bangalore. Their son Uday lives and works in the United States while daughter Madhu (MD Pallavi) is a software engineer working for a supposedly well-to-do firm. This firm is run by a hen-pecked yet scheming white collar Dinesh Khosla. Things start going haywire when Madhu is fired randomly without proper reasoning. While Madhu seems to surrender to the event without a fight, she also has to put up with the blameful eyes her father has for her. Caught between a swindling finance corporation where he is destined to lose all his savings and his daughter’s failing prospects with a career, Anand Rao has nowhere to turn. He pines his hopes on his son Uday who returns one day with a pink slip in his pocket. Of course the family realizes this fact much later thanks to the one thing education has successfully taught all of us – destructive egoism.

Sitting close to this set of events is MLA Divakar (Chandru) and his political ambitions. In collaboration with Khosla and an American he manages to convince hard working and earnest bank employees to join hands into a new merger. Khosla’s technology oriented firm that once seemed to have great value in the global economy is now a sitting duck to collapse. The post-IT and dotcom booms are teased out of their hiding with Khosla deciding to convert his otherwise tech-based center into a call center. Armed with outsourced projects, Indians with fake accents and Americans with ideas of their own, Khosla and co. decide to hit it big. While a desperate Madhu is helped out by some of her loyal peers from work, others choose to join the bandwagon without caring where it is headed next.

These two scenarios collide giving us a rare glimpse of the dubious natures with which these organizations work. Everything from overnight Technology training centers to the cliché of the dog-eat-dog genre this field has created is well captured on celluloid. Prakash Belavadi does a good job at showing a very Indian perspective of the economic shadows that have been around for over a decade in Karnataka. A closer look at this seemingly rosy picture is taken through the eyes of the helpless middle class who only wanted a secure lifestyle and a good landscape for their future generations. The abuse young professionals have to go through at the hands of greedy and one-dimensional bosses are well portrayed.

Performances category is dominated by Anant, Suhasini and Chandru without a close second. These seasoned players perform brilliantly in this English-heavy feature. One of the beautiful touches the director gives is the appropriate injection of Kannada in certain important scenes which sparkles like a hidden water stream in a rocky and dense rainforest. Pallavi, Ashok and the rest of the cast chip in as appropriate in their tailor-made roles. The new faces onscreen adapt well to the goings on and deliver a pretty convincing performance.

Technically the movie is crisp and well shot. Editing is well done although camera work could have been more personal at times. A slight lack of this falls short of adding the genuine touch and life to some vital characters. Music is used sparingly considering the focus of the feature. Jobs are lost but a family is found hence increasing the realism in the movie.

Overall, ‘Stumble’ is another socially-relevant feature made at the right time. The call center business is shown as an infant in the movie but we all know the Herculean young man it is today. ‘Stumble’ is definitely worth a dekko.


ಅಸತ್ಯ ಅನ್ವೇಷಿ said...

ಅರೆ.... ದೂರದಲ್ಲೆಲ್ಲೋ ಕುಳಿತುಕೊಂಡು ನಮ್ಮ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಎಡೆಬಿಡದೆ ನೋಡುವ ನಿಮ್ಮದು ಮಹಾಭಾಗ್ಯ. ಏನಂತೀರಿ?
ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ಈ ತಾಣಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದು 'stumble' ಆದೆ...!

shakri said...

ಹೌದು ಸ್ವಾಮಿ. ನೀವು ಹೇಳುವ ಮಾತು ನಿಜ. ನನ್ನದೆ ಭಾಗ್ಯ. ಏಲ್ಲೆ ಇರು ಹೇಗೆ ಇರು ಏಂದೆಂದಿಗು ಕನ್ನಡವಾಗಿರು ಅನ್ನುವುದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಕರ್ತವ್ಯ ಅಲ್ಲವೆ?

ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ಹಂಚಿಕೊಂಡಿದಕ್ಕೆ ತುಂಬ ಧಂಯವಾದಗಳು.

Madhu said...

Fantastic movie!
I like the way even you have noted the use of kannada in the movie..