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It is a brave attempt made by director Naganna and Anand Appugol, who shelled out a huge money on this project. Darshan's acting, good dialogues and richness remain the strength of the film. The movie showcases Sangolli Rayanna's patriotism and his love for Kannada. However, the length of the movie could be the draw back of the film.
The story is set in 18th century even before the First War of Indian Independence. Kittur Chenamma, the queen of Kittur, refuses to bulge to the demands of the British Raj and the colonial rulers wage a war against the Kittu. Chenamma's trusted lieutenant Sangolli Rayanna leads the pack and tastes the victory in the battle. But the second time, the British capture the queen and all her men including Rayanna by treachery.
While all the captured soldiers were sentenced to five years imprisonment, Kittur Chenamma was kept under house arrest. After getting released, Sangolli Rayanna builds an army and valiantly fights against the British Raj again. The film focuses on the incidents occurred at that time and throws light on his bravery. The story tells every bits and pieces about the freedom fighter but does not have the required depth about his war skills.
For an example, Sangolli Rayanna's guerilla warfare tactics could have been highlighted, as he was probably the first Indian to adopt such tactics but it merely gets around 10 minutes of screen space in the three-hour-long film. Nonetheless, the war scenes are amazingly shot even though it looks too filmy - just like any other Darshan's action film - at parts.
However, Darshan has come out with flying colours with his energetic performance. He perfectly speaks in North Karnataka dialect and does justice to the role. But the anguish shown by him in every frame and dialogues against the British is irritating. Jayapradha's acting is brilliant, But Nikita's character is wasted, Shashi Kumar makes some impact in the second half and rest others have played their parts well.
Yashovardhan's has given a couple of good songs and the background score is good. Ramesh Babu's cinematography is praiseworthy. The drawback of the film is undoubtedly the length of the film, as it has some boring moments.
Overall, Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna is a must watch film.