Kannada film - 777 Charlie
Director - Kiranraj
ctor - Rakshit Shetty and Labrador

Early on a Sunday at 10 a.m., the theatre was fully packed in a heart-warming reassurance of how good, clean films still have a good audience. The happy cheers and loud sighs spoke of a sensitive lot. I am writing about 777 Charlie, the much awaited Kannada film about a dog. I can't help compare it with another block-buster that has had rave reviews and packed audiences – Vikram.

Now, I know fans of the latter will protest saying there is no comparison between Sunny Leone and Meena Kumari but ultimately both are ladies, and both Charlie and Vikram are films. So, do stay with me.

Charlie 777
Rakshit Shetty's Charlie 777.PR Handout

Charlie comes as a whiff of a good family entertainer and it was heartening to see a lot of small kids accompanying their parents in the theatre hall, something the more frequent kinds like Vikram, KGF, RRR do not quite encourage. A movie where the heart is at the centre of it, and a movie where violence is the core, does not leave room for indecision. But the so-called action thrillers suck in more and more crowds, making one wonder what is it about blood and gore that is so inviting?

Educating us on animal cruelty

It is not about audience engagement, because Charlie keeps you glued to the screen with a mix of a good script, acting, music and cinematography. It also does its bit on educating the uninformed on what amounts to animal cruelty, the punishment, and some of the ill practices happening in the field of breeding dogs for money.

Many friends have complained of seemingly healthy dogs succumbing to illnesses at young ages and vets have noted with concern the consequences of in-breeding and hormonal injections administered. It raises questions too on why there are no regulations regarding these. High time.

Charlie 777
Rakshit Shetty's Charlie 777PR Handout

A simple story about a dog treated cruelly but saved in time, warms the cockles of the audience. The transformation or rebirth of the human protagonist from a surly, angry disinterested man to one who enjoys the sights and sounds of life is the journey mission of Charlie, the dog.

Gem of an Idea

To some it will bring happy-sad memories of furry companions and to others a gem of an idea to adopt one. Thrown in are some masalas but these can be easily discounted in what is finally a story about love, the most unconditional kind. It will leave you with a soft warm glow in the chest.

And then there is the story of a drug mafia, a rogue cop and the intelligence guy, full of blood and gore, stabs and heavy gunfire, wicked and wickeder men. The only saving grace is a heroic saviour who can take on an army of blood-thirsty fiends.

But coming away, one wonders what all that was for. In what way does one call it an entertainer? In the way it terrorises one? Or totally desensitises the viewer to violence? A youth earnestly pointed to me the various 'creative' ways of killing that the film demonstrates! The film has grossed over Rs. 100 crore in less than ten days, in TN alone.

Charlie 777 Review
Rakshit Shetty's Charlie 777.PR Handout

What do such movies try to convey, if anything? Or is it about mindless entrapment like the video games that are on the rise? Technical wizardry has its captive audience as can be seen in the slew of recent action movies. But are whizzcameras and 'kickass' graphics a substitute for a story with soul? Sadly, media without responsibility rules the roost today.

Music, the main strength

The music too is worth a mention. One is noise and chaos (Vikram), the other uplifting. Music by Nobin Paul for 777 Charlie is one of the strengths of the film, with a combination of the traditional and modern. Good editing by Pratheek Shetty, direction by Kiranraj K and cinematography by Aravind Kashyap lend weight to a great performance from Rakshit Shetty and the charming Labrador with eyes that speak.

The only minor grouse I have with the makers of Charlie is -- why was an Indie not chosen for the role? A mass-movie like this has the power to transform the way people think. With so many Indie pups in the adoption centres and all around us, a change in attitude of dog lovers can go a long way in giving these strays homes. They are as adorable and as loyal as the breed dogs and often more sturdier too.

777 Charlie, the film and its reception, leaves one with hope for more such movies with heart.