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Ramesh recently said in an interview that each song is integral to the movie. He rates his role in Shaapa his career best


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Read interview with Ashok Patil
Find out where Shaapa is running in the US

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Ramesh and Anu Prabhakar in 'Shaapa' 






A 'track singer' blooms 

Rs 45

Hemant Kumar, who began life as a stand-in singer, sings four out of five songs in Shaapa, just adjudged by the Karnataka government as the second best film of the year

Shaapa has just won the second-best film of 2000 award. The Karnataka government awards were announced in the first week of June 2001, and the other winners are Mussange, a film about the elderly which was adjudged the best, and Munnudi, the T N Seetharam-directed film based on an S L Bhyrappa novel, which came third.

US-trained Ashok Patil, who directed Shaapa, had the support of his actor-brother B C Patil, but that didn't take him far in Gandhinagar, the movie business hub in Bangalore which praised his movie but refused to take it up for distribution. Ashok went on record to say he was shocked by what the distributors said -- "it won't run in Karnataka, but it could have been a big hit in Kerala if only you'd made it in Malayalam!"

The movie should have been released in September 2001, and when that didn't happen, a frustrated Ashok left for the US. But he should be a happy man now. The film has done reasonably well in Karnataka, and is doing the rounds in the US.

Ashok Patil worked for eight months on his screenplay. He got the story idea from Hamsalekha, who later directed the music and wrote the words for him. Shaapa got good reviews and an impressive opening. Ashok, we expect more from you. Come back again!

The story is a psychological thriller, in Ashok's words. Ramesh, the hero, is always looked down upon by his father, and he loses both his mother and stepmother in his childhood. In his quest for love and affection, he is invariably disappointed. The father's disapproval is a curse he has to live with throughout his life.

Ramesh recently said in an interview that each song is integral to the movie. He rates his role in Shaapa his career best. And Anu Prabhakar, who plays the heroine, was down with jaundice when the best actress award was announced for her. She is thrilled with the award, of course, and wants to throw a bash once she is up and about.

Hemant Kumar sings four of five numbers. He used to be a track singer. One day, he sang an original track in Preetse, which starred Upendra and Shivaraj Kumar. His debut song, Preetse preetse kannu muchchi nanna preetse, became very popular and also won him an award. Hamsalekha gives him more songs here, and he continues to make a good impression.

Ee nadiyalli eno ide ("There's something special in is this river") is a duet in slow tempo. Hemant Kumar and Chitra are a new combination, and work well. The flute is the highlight of the number, and that's because the heroine is a flute player. The inlay card says wrongly that Rajesh is the singer.

Le le marula marula ("Listen, you idiot!") uses very few instruments, and quite a bit of Hemant. He is extremely good and expressive. Instruments like the khanjira remind you of tunes from Parasangada Gendetimma, a film for which Rajan-Nagendra made excellent music, but this song falls short of those standards. The contempt and abuse of the father don't come across with enough spite or energy.

Manase manase o manase ("O my mind") talks about the frustration of not being able to express love. This is another number by Hemant. Kaveravva Kaveravva describes the beauty of river Cauvery and the culture of the Kodavas (Coorgis). Nandita and Sujata join Hemant in this number.

Vahini vahini nanna preetisu ("Love me, o stream") is probably inspired by Silk Route's Hindi song Dooba dooba rehta hoon. It is a nicely shot underwater duet. Ashok says this song is being aired on the countdown show of Udaya TV for a record period! Rajesh and Anuradha Sriram sing this slow tempo, synth-rich song.

Shaapa's music won't attain classic status, but thanks to Hemant, it has some freshness.

Vishakha N

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