Too many coincidences tie together the fate of the 6 protagonists in this sextet of stories tied together in an amiable omnibus. That was my first impression. Then I thought about it. Wait! Isn’t that the whole point of this endearing excursion into life’s vicissitudes? Kasada Thapara is not interested in carving a place in posterity. There is too much to worry about in the present tense.
And boy, is the present tense for the aging impoverished protagonist Samyuthan (Venkat Prabhu, aptly cast) of the last segment who has taken the rap for the crimes of his tycoon boss, little knowing that the simple-hearted honest-to-goodness Samyuthan was paving his way to the gallows. The story is incredibly melodramatic, right up to its contrived ending. But I couldn’t help grieving for the hapless Samyuthans of the world who suffer for their simplicity. He is an amalgamation of so many contradictory socio-cultural realities.
Just as honest and god-fearing or shall I say, god-challenging (quite literally, since he has regular conversation with Lord Krishna) as Samyuthan is Bala (Premgi Amaren) who tells it like it is to his girlfriend Regina Cassandra and she loves him for it. This is sunniest story of the connected anthology and the one that will leave a smile on your face.
Many of the stories are so dark, they take us into blind alleys of moral abrogation, none more so than the segment featuring Sundeep Kishan, the only star in the actors’ ensemble giving a measured powerful performance as a low-caste man who has risen to the ranks of a police officer and must now pay a heavy price to his benefactor. Kishan’s is by far the most complex character of the anthology.
Almost equally dark are Isaac (Shantanu Bhagrayraj) whose family business of crime seems to come back to him in unexpected ways, and Kish (Harish Kalyan) whose ambitions finally betray him. These two segments of the ongoing omnibus operate within the normal family unit, and they spread an all-pervasive darkness over the anthology making us wonder if life as seen in tight emotional close-ups is always this unpleasant.
Finally there is Sundari, played with fire fury and grit by Vijaylaxmi, determined to save her seriously ill son’s life. As she battles indifference and malice in the city her story acquires a certain universality that binds the various segments together. Each protagonist is at some point or the other stricken with doubts as to why we even bother to battle our insecurities when the victory at the end of conflict is so meagre.
Some stories in Kasada Thapara, like the one featuring Sundeep Kishan, seem to deserve a full-length feature treatment. Others make amply articulate use of the space provided. There is never a dull moment in Kasada Thapara. This is not saying that every point it makes is worth ingesting. But the plot never loses its moral aspirations. The characters are conflicted but never defeated by their ambitions. They are interesting because they are flawed.
Image source: IMDb