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Unripe ‘Thothapuri’ leaves a sour taste, again!

Thothapuri: Chapter 2 (Kannada)20232h 1m★★☆☆☆2/5Director:Vijaya PrasadCast:Jaggesh, Aditi Prabhudeva, Dhananjay

The film’s focal characters going out to watch Neerdose, an earlier collaboration of Jaggesh and Vijaya Prasad, is a perfect set-up for the protagonist to bat for his school of ‘sex comedies’. ‘Instead of being a pretentious puritan, it is better to be open about everything. Hence I liked Neerdose,’ Eere Gowda, the easy-going, adult comedy-loving talior, played by Jaggesh, says in the sequel.Your assessment of this school of thought will directly determine how you evaluate Thothapuri: Chapter 2 too.

Eerecontinues his inter-religious romance with Shakira Banu (Aditi Prabhudeva), while also sustaining his bonhomie with Nanjamma and Rangamma. Just when it seems like the film is a mere repeat of its prequel, there comes a twist.A love story between Sister Victoria and Narayan Pillai (Dhananjay)!

The film carries forward the communal harmony message espoused in the prequel by doubling the number of inter-religious couples. It also takes a firm stand against casteism, as Eere, disenchanted with the neck-deep casteism in temples, worships a statue of Dr Ambedkar instead. However, despite these strong points, it is quintessentially a Jaggesh film in the Neerdose mould, where double-meaning jokes form the crux and the messaging is sugar-coated. Proponents of this school of thought conveniently forget that cinema has a certain social responsibility that it cannot ignore.

In terms of performances, Jaggesh plays to the gallery and is boring to watch. Aditi plays her strong character with dignity and other cast members support her well. A nuanced role and a wider canvas would have helped extract more of Dhananjay’s talent. Barring the 25 seconds of Mohammed Rafi’s Baharon phool barsao playing in the background at a salon, the music is forgettable.

(Published 29 September 2023, 19:23 IST)

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