‘Saramsha’ movie review: Surya Vasishta presents a gentle interesting take on life and ambitions

In the heart of Surya Vasishta’s latest film “Saramsha,” there unfolds a captivating scene where Raksha, a publisher portrayed by Shweta Gupta, expresses her deep-rooted desire to be recognized as a Kannadiga, despite not being a fluent speaker of the language. “But psychologically, culturally… this (Karnataka) is my home. It (Kannada) is my literature and identity. Anywhere else, I will feel out of place,” she confesses to Tejas, the main character played by Deepak Subramanya with earnest vulnerability.

This striking moment captures the essence of the film, which is a poignant exploration of personal identity versus public perception, interlaced with the state’s rich linguistic heritage. “Saramsha” delves into these themes with an array of gentle, warm moments that resonate on a human level.

A particularly memorable sequence involves Tejas engaging in a video call with his parents. Upon concluding the call, he promptly exchanges his laptop’s wallpaper featuring their image with that of Kuvempu, the legendary Kannada poet. This action symbolizes Tejas’ internal conflict, as he seeks solace in literary figures he admires, given the lack of support for his writing aspirations from his family.

The film’s protagonist harbors the name Tejas as a nod to Poornachandra Tejaswi, the celebrated writer and Kuvempu’s son. This subtle homage extends beyond the mere namesake; it mirrors Tejas’ mental journey in the narrative. Caught between parental expectations to become a chartered accountant and his passionate love for storytelling, Tejas straddles two worlds – one of practical rationality and another of imaginative creation, each imposing its own set of truths on him.

Tejas’ enchanting world further expands when he stumbles upon a gateway into another dimension inside a bathroom, leading him to Abhay (played by Surya Vasishta) and Maya (portrayed by Sruthi Hariharan), characters from the very story he is penning. Abhay is a dreamer with an eye towards the future, while Maya is firmly anchored in the present. Their contrasting dispositions pose a significant influence on Tejas, prompting introspection and character growth.

The cinematographic style of “Saramsha” embraces a minimalist approach, with understated filmmaking and a simplistic background score, crafting a meditative atmosphere well-suited to its philosophical leanings. Through the depiction of multifaceted yet imperfect individuals, each with their own unique set of life experiences, the film injects drama into its narrative. The dialogues are penned by Vasishta in collaboration with “Gantumoote” director Roopa Rao, imbuing the film with an air of authenticity and relatability.

Performance-wise, the actor ensemble of “Saramsha” brings significant strength to the film, with Deepak Subramanya’s portrayal of Tejas standing out. The depth of Subramanya’s acting skillfully embodies the inner world of an impassioned writer yearning for creative fulfillment. In an illuminating exchange, the character Abhay muses to Tejas: “Writing a book and publishing it feels like completing a life and being reborn again,” highlighting the transformative power of literature.

Not merely a story about literary pursuit, “Saramsha” also ventures into themes of family dynamics, navigating ways to repair the strained bonds between parents and their grown children. It captures the essence of a young adult’s coming-of-age journey, albeit in a somewhat cautious approach to surrealism. While the director’s intent to neatly tie up the characters’ arcs slightly diminishes the film’s enigmatic allure, it nevertheless leaves the audience with ample material to ponder upon life’s intricacies.

“Saramsha” is currently gracing theatres with its presence, offering a window into the lives of writers and the complex interplay of identity, ambition, and tradition. An artful choice for cinema lovers, the film serves as a compelling medium to reflect on one’s place in the world and the perennial quest to find one’s true self amidst societal expectations.

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