Three friends planning to take a break from their routine life and going on a trip is a familiar story. It instantly reminds people of hit movies like Dil Chahta Hai and Gaalipata. And when the story of Sunil Bhimrao's Onthara Bannagalu begins, one expects it to take viewers on a similar journey but it will surprise them with the narration.
The story of the movie completely revolves around five characters – Jai (Kiran Srinivas), Ram (Praveen Pugalia), Shree (Pratap Narayan), Janaki (Sonu Gowda) and Hitha (Hitha Chandrashekar).
Fed up with their work, the three boys decide to go on a trip to Badami, Hubballi and Mangaluru. As the trio set to begin the tour, they are joined by two girls. Rest of the movie is about pleasant changes that the journey brings to their lives.
Onthara Bannagalu has a simple story which makes the viewers gradually become part of the journey of its characters. There are no emotionally-heavy scenes like in Dil Chahta Hai or a dejected feeling of a boy when ignored by his girl like in Gaalipata.
Emotions are natural and not forced here, giving a realistic touch to the storyline. The beauty lies in the way the story presents the smallest things that give greater joy to the characters.
Performances wise, all the lead actors have equivalent importance and they have done justice to their roles. Special mention for Dattatreya (Datanna)'s character which gives a philosophical touch to the film.
The movie is technically sound with a top-class photography. The aerial shots of Badami, Bagalkote, Salkeshpura, Bisle Ghat and Mangaluru are a treat to the eyes and holds a mirror to the talent that cinematographer Manohar Joshi posses.
Bharath BJ's is an added bonus. Last but not the least, Sunil Bhimrao gets the major credit for penning the story and bringing the right members to his team. And he should be applauded for not diluting the storyline by adding unnecessary elements.
On the flip side, the flashback portions work like speed-breakers and stretched past story of Jai along with the songs in the second half does not help the cause. Further, comedy one-liners fall flat.
Verdict: Experience the journey of five characters.