Hindu epic Mahabharatha is such a huge subject that it is impossible to tell a story convincingly in a three-hour film. Thanks to the unique characters and interesting back-stories, it becomes difficult for any filmmaker to cover the entire epic in just one instalment. Knowing their limitations, the makers of Kurukshetra have touched upon key incidents that lead to the bloody battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
There have been many movies and TV serials made on the Mahabharatha, projecting how the good defeated the evil, but writer-producer Munirathna's Kurukshetra stands different from the lot because, on a rare note, Lord Krishna or the Pandavas are not projected as the protectors of the dharma. With all his wickedness, Duryodhana aka Suyodhana is showcased like a hero in the mega-budget Kannada film.
The story does not talk about Duryodhana's childhood or explain the reason why he developed such hatred towards his cousins. The story begins after 100 sons of Dhritarashtra and five sons of Pandu return home after completing their education. The rivalry between the Pandavas and Kauravas and how the animosity builds among the cousins as the time passes by form the crux of the story.
Munirathna's Kurukshetra is a colourful film and a treat for the fans to see so many big names in one film. The 3D experience, on this scale, is new to the Kannada audience although VFX is poor at parts. The role, undoubtedly, is tailor-made for Darshan, who impresses the audience with his acting as well as by mouthing lengthy dialogues with ease.
His height, well-maintained physique and overall body language are apt for the role. The way he wields his mace and twirls his moustache remind the audience of Dr Rajkumar's iconic role of Hiranyakashipu in Bhakta Prahlada. Last but not the least, the dialogues deserve a special mention.
On the flip side, the problem lies in the piecing together of scenes. The sequences appear one after the other without touching the emotional chord of the audience. The first half is dedicated to Darshan, surprisingly he is missing in action in major part of the second half. Even in the Kurukshetra battle, his presence is hardly felt.
Except for Darshan and Arjun Sarja, all other characters look least important in the narrative. Some characters like Yudhisthira and Abhimanyu amuse audience at times. However, Arjun Sarja, after Darshan, genuinely wins appreciation from the audience. His portion in the climax remains one of the whistle-worthy moments of the flick.
Despite its drawbacks, Kurukshetra will be remembered as a well-made film backed by solid performance from Darshan. This should not be missed if you have not read much about the Mahabharatha. And mythological film has not been made in Sandalwood for a long time which makes it a must-watch film for the the family audience.