Koli Taal movie review: Abhilash Shetty's debut explores a simplistic tale about village life

Koli Taal movie review: Abhilash Shetty's debut explores a simplistic tale about village life

Koli Taal movie review: Abhilash Shetty's debut explores a simplistic tale about village life

Language: Kannada

After doing the rounds in the film festival circuit, this small Kannada film is releasing in theatres on May 27. Director Abhilash Shetty’s Koli Taal (The Chicken Curry) is set in a little village in Karnataka and revolves around an elderly couple, Vanaja (Radha Ramachander) and Mahabala Shetty (Prabhakar Kunder), who live on their farm. It’s been three years since they saw their grandson Sumanth (Abhilash Shetty), who is studying in Delhi, visited. The lonely life of the aged couple is suddenly filled with activity and a renewed energy when their grandson suddenly decides to visit. The excited couple decides to prepare a feast on his visit - special chicken curry. With the help of his three farmworkers, Maanja, Sathisha and Haala, Mahabala catches the best rooster on his farm to ensure his grandson gets the best chicken curry. But overnight the rooster goes missing. Who could have stolen it?

Koli Taal is a very simplistic village tale told in an appealing form through the natural performances and the way the movie has been shot. Routine, daily activities like splashing watery cow dung in front of the house, grinding curry paste for the chicken curry on the stone grinder or cutting fresh banana leaves for a meal, gives us insight into the life of those in the villages and also shows us the traditions that people still continue to follow despite the advancement in technology like the mobile phone or television.

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This is 28-year-old Abhilash Shetty’s debut film and he explores a world - life on a farm - he is familiar with in Koli Taal. While the setting may be a farm in a village, the film also explores human relationships and food, and traits like greed, honesty, luck and superstitions. The visit of the elderly couple’s grandson becomes the highlight for them as we see Mahabala announcing with pride to everyone he meets in the village about the impending visit. The preparation of a special meal in their home - fresh chicken curry versus the usual fish or green spinach - is again typical of life in a village. Shetty has captured these nuances well and allows the audience to experience village life through the visuals of Swaroop Yashwant.

Koli Taal is a simple village whodunit about a rooster with a bit of humour thrown in. But it is a slow film that you need to patiently immerse yourself in. At times, it does feel like a documentary in its approach and given its simple storyline, you may feel disappointed. But keep in mind that it’s the director’s debut film and having got its recognition at film festivals, it’s not commercial. This movie will appeal to those who want to experience a slice of life on a farm in the interiors of Karnataka where time seems to have stood still. Moreover, it's a visual relief from the urban fast-paced technological world we live in today.

Rating: * * *

Koli Taal releases in cinemas on 27 May

Latha Srinivasan is a senior journalist based in Chennai. Her passion is entertainment, travel, and dogs.

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