When a writer and a literary critic meet

The critic

Kannada (YouTube)

Director: Mansore

With: TS Nagabharana, Uma YG

Rating: 3.5/5

Mansore is one of the few filmmakers in Kannada to feature strong female characters. In his latest short film “The Critic”, a woman is again at the center of the plot. He also likes to comment on issues that ordinary people face.

The 11-minute film, starring TS Nagabharana and Uma YG, is based on a story by renowned journalist and writer BM Basheer. It opens with a veteran reviewer (Naghabharana) expressing his displeasure with millennial writers in a phone conversation.

Now, this is a debate that will last forever. Seasoned writers often claim that their younger counterparts believe in developing a likeable social media persona rather than focusing on being knowledgeable.

One of the film’s dialogues brings out this point. “Criticism does not point out what is right or wrong. It is a way of research”, says the critic. It’s no wonder seasoned editors scoff at the fast-paced, Internet-centric approach of today’s media, which is embroiled in an unprecedented race to the top.

In the age of ever-changing content, it’s hard to be a literary critic. Young people face the daunting task of being responsible, unique and meticulous in their work, even as there is increasing pressure to stand out from the crowd. If some give in to sensationalism, the others produce quality.

The film, however, does not take a position on this debate. Instead, he tests the ethics of the experienced critic and sees if he sticks to his grand claims in an unusual situation.

He meets a young writer (Uma), who entrusts him with her first novel for comments and reviews. Uma, as a wide-eyed rookie excited to meet her role model, is excellent. Nagabharana excels in a role that is child’s play for an experienced professional like him.

This is the first short film on the Satya Hegde Productions YouTube channel, launched by cinematographer Satya Hegde. The channel aims to broadcast short films on a regular basis. It’s a good start as Kannada lacks short films that spark meaningful conversations. The YouTube community is now content to generate a few laughs.