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Memorable performance for Sarja fans

Raja Marthanda

Kannada (Theatres)

Director: K Ram Narayan 

Cast: Chiranjeevi Sarja, Deepti Sati, Devaraj, Saurav Lokesh, Chikkanna

Rating: 2/5

The last film of late actor Chiranjeevi Sarja, ‘Raja Marthanda’ is another addition to the long list of recent Kannada films with a typical duality. While they are set in the present, they tend to glorify royalty and inevitably connect the protagonist to it.

Raised by his grandmother, Raja (Chiranjeevi Sarja) is a happy-go-lucky young man with a quirk — an unparalleled passion for mythological film-styled dialogues. This brings him closer to Geetha (Deepti Sati), an MBBS student hell-bent on proving that psychological issues are not inherited but instead developed.

While Geetha suspects it to be a case of dissociative identity disorder, it is soon revealed that Raja has royal lineage — a privilege he has been denied through deceit by subordinates. Here the psychological angle abruptly ends, as the hero goes all in for raw revenge.

Just like its extravagant title, the film glorifies royalty in an age where it is redundant. Long-discarded feudal ideas, such as a certain class being born to work and others destined to rule, are reiterated just for cinematic thrill. The psychological twist is nipped in the bud with the heroine’s dialogue, “You don’t have split personality, it is just royal blood.”

The performance is bound to be memorable for Sarja’s fans, as the actor portrays a role with mythological overtones. Deepti plays her limited role well, while Chikkanna impresses again as the hero’s comrade-in-arms. 

(Published 07 October 2023, 04:00 IST)

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