Hero introduction scenes for action entertainers are very important because they can carry a humongous amount of energy. If directors get it right, diehard fans of the stars will keep knocking on the doors of theatres for them. This is also why writers and directors need to be extraordinarily careful about what they put here.
In Kotigobba 3, Satya (Sudeep) is asked to nab a history-sheeter by the police department. We’re told that the neighbourhood that the history-sheeter is holed in is dominated by Muslims and only Satya can enter it without getting hurt. In this process, we are shown a thickly populated neighborhood where everyone from a kid to a meat seller is an ardent supporter of the rowdy fellow. A cop, when narrating the scenario, uses Islamophobic language rather casually.
But later in the film, when we see a pregnant woman chant Sanskrit mantras, the camera zooms in on her face lovingly. Kotigobba 3 isn’t a Hindu versus Muslim tale, far from it. The scenes I’ve outlined don’t even affect the overall arc of the story. Yet, it takes a completely different lens in representing these two communities. Kotigobba 3 is that kind of a thoughtless film.
The crux itself seems to have been inspired by Atlee’s Tamil blockbuster Mersal (2017). Devendra (Nawab Shah) is an evil, ultra-rich businessman, who runs a pharmaceutical company. Add to the horrors of his capitalistic endeavours the destruction caused by the jewel thief, you’ll get the rest of Kotigobba 3.
Pitched as a sequel to Kotigobba 2 (2016), this film is bigger in scale, even if not in cleverness or grandeur. A part of the film is set in Poland where you get to witness some not-so-breathtaking car chases – a thief who’s nicknamed Ghost steals the crown jewels from a tightly secured museum and the police try to catch him by chasing after him in multiple vehicles, but they’re obviously too ill-equipped to outwit him.
Few of the characters from Kotigobba 2 continue. Satya continues to be a do-gooder and a Robin Hood for the masses. His girlfriend (Nithya Menen) from the prequel is missing here, but his nemesis Kishore (P. Ravi Shankar), who’s still in jail, makes a comeback.
Kishore initially promises to take revenge against Satya for deceiving him. And you really tend to believe his threats. Isn’t there a proverb somewhere that says something about how a wounded lion is more dangerous than a hungry one? Nevertheless, Kishore’s plans to upset Satya don’t come to fruition as he’s all talk and no action. He doesn’t make a real effort to bring his enemy down. But, on the flip side, it’s quite hilarious to watch Shankar play to the gallery. He’s perhaps the only actor who gets meaty lines even though the movie also stars Tabla Nani and Rangayana Raghu. It’s a shame that Raghu, one of the best actors in Kannada, is pushed to the background every time he’s seen.
You know what else is pushed to the background — perhaps could have been completely avoided? The romance subplot. You won’t give a damn about what happens between Satya and Priya (Madonna Sebastian). Their relationship doesn’t make any sense. Even the platonic friendship, like the one shared by the cops (played by Aftab Shivdasani and Shraddha Das) is better. But it is the chemistry between Satya and Kishore that I enjoyed most.
The one thing going for the franchise, however, is the manner in which Kotigobba 2 and 3 are connected. There’s a simple flashback episode that changes the gears for the franchise. It’s nice to see, for a change, the evolution of sequels.