Southern Lights: Kendasampige, Film Companion
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Director: Duniya Soori

Cast: Manvitha Harish, Chandrashekhar, Prakash Belawadi

The first time we see Ravi and Gowri, they’re in a theatre, half watching the movie, half making out. This poor boy and rich girl are just being the teens or early twenty-somethings they are. But her mother spots them and asks a cop to take care of the situation. Soon, Ravi is framed in a “ganja case.” He’s sentenced to prison – and then he flees. Obviously distraught, he calls Gowri and tells her where he is and what happened. She’s concerned, but calm. She says, “Be right there. I’m coming.” Earlier, in the theatre, we saw how much she loved him. Now, we see other traits. Strength. Loyalty. That whole be-with-you-through-thick-and-thin thing.

Gowri lies to her mother that she’s going shopping with a friend, hops into a car, goes to an ATM and withdraws money, and heads to the bus station where Ravi is. He wails, “I want to leave this city and go someplace far away.” Without a moment’s hesitation, she says she will come with him. He says, “Please understand. Just give me some money. That’s all.” She hands him the money. He gets into a bus and leaves. And we cut to a song.

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On the surface, this is your standard flashback song. Boy meets girl. They fall in love.  Cut to present and show boy missing girl, girl missing boy. But how boy meets girl is what matters here, for Gowri is drowning in the sea and her friends are screaming for help. Ravi rescues her. When she regains consciousness, she sees him. She’s grateful. She smiles and extends a hand. He shakes it. Then we see him in the gym, as he’s wiping the machines, carrying cans of water. She joins the gym. She sees him and says, “Thank you for saving my life that day.” He’s embarrassed. “It’s fine, madam. Let it go.”

We in the audience marvel that such a girl has stuck with such a boy – but that’s what makes their love story so unique in this thriller/road movie. It’s touching how she decides she’ll be with him, no matter what.

She asks him about the bangle on his wrist. He says he’s a Vishnuvardhan fan, and that’s the star’s style statement. He’s seen Bandhana, the star’s 1984 blockbuster, 25 times. She says, “Why? Did you not understand it the first time?” She’s teasing him. She likes him. The rest of the song shows her taking him to restaurants more expensive than the ones he is used to, buying high-end clothes for him, and finally, gifting him a brand-new bangle. This last gesture blows away his apprehensions. He’s in love too.

We cut to the present, and the bus comes to a stop. Ravi is asleep. Someone shakes him awake. It’s Gowri. She’s followed the bus. She’s with him now. And hereon, we see how he’d never have survived without her. She flags down a car and takes off with it. At a toll gate, she tells Ravi to lie low in the back seat, as someone may be looking for them. And yet, she’s still the rich kid she is. At a ratty hotel, she tells the man from the reception desk, “I cannot use this soap. If I give you money, will you bring me another soap and shampoo?”

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At another hotel in another small town, she looks at what room service has brought in and makes a face. “I don’t want this. I feel like eating Schezwan fried rice or Mexican.” We in the audience marvel that such a girl has stuck with such a boy – but that’s what makes their love story so unique in this thriller/road movie. It’s touching how she decides she’ll be with him, no matter what.  At a hotel, she says she’s tired and wants to sleep. She guilt-trips him. “If you desert me when I am asleep, I will surely die.” Seen one way, she’s a spoilt little rich girl who always gets what she wants. Seen another way, she really, really loves this boy.

A little later, Ravi sees his name in a “Wanted” ad in the papers. He’s had enough. He says he’s going to surrender. “We are committing one mistake after another.” She says, “If we are doing something wrong to survive, it’s not wrong.” He says, “Don’t say these things and confuse me.” She looks at the email address in the ad and suggests they mail the cops and explain everything. Ravi asks, “What if they don’t believe us?” She puts a hand on his cheek and says, “If it’s written that we can survive only by committing mistakes, then let us.” He lowers his head. She says, “Do you feel that you have done something wrong by falling in love with me?” He says, “I don’t know.” She smiles. “It’s your fate.”

Watch the song ‘Nenape Nithya Mallige’ from Kendasampige here:

 

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