Kataka: Gripping horror with dramatic twists
Based on a real-life incident and set around the practice of black magic, the film does a good job of blending drama and horror
Kataka, which is set around the practice of black magic with doses of horror and drama thrown in, is an honest attempt from Ravi Basrur. Based on a real-life incident, the simple story is about a school teacher Kumar (Ashok Raj), an atheist tired of city life who returns to the village along with his wife Vandhana (Spandana Prasad) and four-year-old daughter (Shlaga Saligrama). He takes a transfer, makes a plan to start his own school and hopes that his child grows up in a rural idyll.
Kumar faces opposition, but his childhood friend Appu aka Subraaya (Madhav Karkada) comes out in support, and he moves to the village. The emotional rollercoaster then starts with the challenges he faces and the sacrifices he has to make.
Director: Ravi Basrur
Cast: Ashok Raj, Spandana Prasad, Shlaga Saligrama, Madhav Karkada
The film, backed by Puneeth Rajkumar, was made on a shoestring budget and runs on its content. It is an unusual subject and has no big names in the cast, but the director has placed faith in the artistes and their performances. Ravi Basrur’s efforts are to be appreciated.
He keeps the audience on the edge of the seat and instills fear with rightly placed spooky moments. Though Kataka has been placed as villain, it is more metaphorical and the crab is central to the story. The director has done well blending horror with drama. And Kataka’s story goes that while you can cure a physical ailment, you cannot heal people when they are victims of black magic.
Ashok Raj, Spandana Prasad and Madhav Karakada have done their best with natural acting. But the highlight of the movie is child artiste Shylaga Saligrama, who is impressive with her excellent performance. The transformation she undergoes from being a normal child to a possessed one has to be applauded.
The cinematography has captured the natural rural backdrop, but what stands out is the sound engineering that creates a unique background score.
Kataka comes with a few flaws, which can certainly be ignored, and it is a new genre that combines horror with drama that makes for a good viewing experience.