Stills and rEVIEW OF ‘August 16, 1947’

Producer- A.R.Murugadoss, Om Prakash Bhatt and Narsiram Choudhary
Director- N.S.Ponkumar
Star Cast-Gautam Kartik, Revathy Sharma, Pugazh and Richard Ashton
Genre- Fiction
Platform of Release– Theatres
Rating- ***1/2
Awe-Inspiring Tale!

Trust the South Indian makers to churn out riveting tales which are awe inspiring tom the core, when compared to the Hindi filmmakers whom are happy churning out plots that are utterly predictable. The secluded fictional village is surrounded by unkind forests and led by a tyrannical British General, Robert Clive (Richard Ashton), who rules with an iron whip along with his lecherous son, Justin (Jason Shah) in pre-Independence Madras.

The story set in a fictional land, Sengadu, in the Madras Presidency before India’s Independence spans three days and follows the illiterate and oppressed villagers’ lives as they fail to receive the news of India’s Independence due to isolation. The protagonist of the film is, a local lad Param, (Gautam Kartik) who leads a revolt to free his childhood beloved Deepali (Revathy Sharma) and the rest of the oppressed villagers.

The gripping narrative spans three days, from 14 August to 16 August 1947 and centres around the young Param and his love for Deepali whose Thakur father, who is literally the slave to the British has kept her hidden at home for more than a decade, bluntly lying that she died of cholera, to protect her from Justin.

Though the premise is intriguing and there is this edge of the seat suspense as to what will happen if the village does not receive the news of India’s freedom, something for which they have prayed for three centuries, the screenplay loses the punch owing to long-drawn sequences, which test the patience of the viewers with repetitive sequences that lack logic to a great extent, like how Deepali sets out to dance meticulously with the villagers though she has been kept a captive form almost a decade.

As far as the performances are concerned, Gautam maintains the continuity of his character very well as the bitter but happy-go-lucky young man, while Pugazh as his well trusted friend is brilliant. Revathy, as a timid 20-year-old woman in distress, looks the part and acts ably, too. Richard Ashton stands out as the deceitful despot who deliberately keeps the news of Independence hidden from the villagers to exit Sengadu like a king.

An engaging screenplay peppered with twists and turns and slick editing combined with brilliant cinematography, besides excellent direction by Ponkumar whom has also written the story and the screenplay and dialogues make this film a riveting as well as awe inspiring one, which has shades of S.S.Rajamouli’s film RRR


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