If the last two years have seen a couple of young directors make their bow in the Kannada industry, Praveen Nayak, among them, has not only an interesting background but a relevant one which certainly could be of use to him in the new medium he has chosen to dabble in films. Nayak worked as a film journalist and was into television before venturing into film direction with “Z”, his maiden offering now being screened.
Such one-letter titles are not anything new to Kannada cinema. Upendra’s “A”, drew as many question marks for its nomenclature, as it drew audiences to the cinema hail. One cannot but help draw a parallel between the two — while “A” traced the story of a lovelorn, jilted director, for his heroine, “Z” zeroes in on the travails of a heroine, beseeched and pursued by a deceitful director. “Z” also meanders through a convoluted story, before the curtains are drawn on a strained audience. The comparison ends here.
With an enviable star cast of Prema and Prakash Rai, both of whom are sure-fire successes, ‘Z” inevitably falls back on them for bankability. And they live up to such expectations.
As to the story itself, Praveen is sure of what he wants to say — a heroine battered by a scheming film world, an idealistic director who turns Machaivellian for fame and money, and the reality behind all that glitz, so to say. But Praveen’s inability to restrain protracted scenes and his penchant for disjointed, unconnected scenes and characters make for a plodding story. Yet it goes to his credit that he has successfully tapped the sensuality and sensitivity of Prakash Rai and the elfin charm of Prema, particularly In a few scenes.
Prakash is an aspiring director with ideals. lie finally finds an equally star-struck nincompoop (Tennis Krishna), who is ready to finance his venture, and in the making of which he falls into the rut of the established ways of the film world, with its thirst for money and fame.
All ideals fall by the wayside and Prakash uses the naive heroine of his film, Prema, for his ‘success”. He does meet with it, but this very scheme spells his nemesis.
Prakash Rai brings credibility to an incredible character, as well as a touch of warmth and sensuality to his role, although he tends to be a trifle dramatic at times. Prema has little to do in comparison, but manages to bring out the naivete in the heroine. Tennis Krishna, an unnecessary appendage in the film, is crude, to put it mildly.
Suresh Urs (editing) seems helpless before the onslaught of Praveen. Both the music and cinematography have nothing to offer. Praveen’s story rambles, and his dialogues are simplistic. His screenplay is in keeping with all of this.
Yet, this debutant director cannot be written off, for ‘Z” does have its moments of pluses, and Praveen, his flashes of directorial grip.