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From ‘Lucia’ to ‘Sapta Saagaradaache Ello’: Must-Watch Movies of New Generation Filmmakers in Kannada Cinema

Tejaswi Bathulapalli |Wednesday, 20 Sep 2023 - 6:54 PM

kannada film industry
kannada film industry

With widespread reception of ‘out-of-the-box’ movies, Kannada cinema has seen a paradigm shift in the way its films are made, watched and perceived. 

Majority of Indian audiences would’ve surely watched the blockbusters, KGF: Chapter 1, KGF: Chapter 2 & Kantara, from the ‘land of sandalwood’, but only cinephiles would know the following out-of-the-box movies made by the new generation of talents from the industry, who are reinstating the glory of Kannada cinema which is the home of illustrious filmmakers such as Puttanna Kanagal, Girish Kasaravalli, BV Karanth, GV Iyer, TS Nagabharana, Girish Karnad, Shankar Nag, and more.

Below is a list of movies that have redefined the perception of Kannada cinema in the eyes of Indian audiences.

Lucia (2013)

A trailblazing film that was like a jolt to not just the Kannada audiences, but also to viewers outside the state, Lucia has marked the beginning of a new wave in the film industry. Directed by an engineering drop-out Pawan Kumar, the brilliant psychological thriller alternates between the dreams and reality of a person who takes ‘Lucia’ pills and is regarded as one of the best cinematic explorations on the concept of ‘Lucid Dreaming’. The first ever feature in Kannada cinema to have been completely funded by the audiences, it recently celebrated its 10th year anniversary on September 6th.

 Where To Watch - SunNxt

Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2014)

‘Ulidavaru Kandanthe’ in English means ‘As Seen By Others’, and the title totally justifies Rakshit Shetty’s neo-noir gangster drama which revolves around the investigation of a murder case and it employs the ‘Rashomon Effect’ technique to narrate the events from different perspectives. The film was a box-office failure at the time of release, but it eventually went on to become a cult in Kannada cinema.

Where To Watch - SunNxt

 Rangi Taranga & Thithi (2015)

Made on a shoe-string of around two crores, Anup Bhandari’s mystery thriller emerged as one of the highest grossers in the Kannada film industry of the year. However, what made this culturally-rooted film stand out is the interweaving of two suspenseful narratives, making it difficult for the audiences to predict ‘what happens next’. It’s the story of a novelist who faces a series of mysterious circumstances when his pregnant wife goes missing after they visit their ancestral home in a village called ‘Kamarottu’.

Where To Watch - SunNxt


If Malayalam cinema has ‘Ee.Ma.Yau’, Tamil has ‘Thandatti’ and Telugu has ‘Balagam’, Kannada cinema has Thithi as far as the reflective dramas with a touch of comedy or satire surrounding death of an elder, are concerned. Thithi shows the lives of a deceased centenarian’s progeny — his son, grandson & great-grandson — starting from his death until the 11th day ceremony. Raam Reddy’s deadpan satire on poverty layered with dark humour, is a must-watch for every movie lover.

Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu & U-Turn (2016)

Hemanth Rao’s directorial debut, ‘Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu’ is a gripping drama about a workaholic’s quest to find his missing father who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease — no, that’s not the whole story; you have to watch the film to know why it’s gripping. The film stemmed from Rao’s curiosity about the missing reports in newspapers when he was a child, and his intrigue to explore father-son relationship.

Where To Watch - Disney+Hotstar

kannada film industry-3

Pawan Kumar’s U-Turn is a supernatural thriller that revolves around a journalist intern’s attempts to learn more about a series of accidental deaths of motorists on a flyover, all of whom remove a concrete block acting as a divider on the flyover to take a ‘U-Turn’ as a short-cut to avoid the traffic. The film received widespread acclaim and was also remade into multiple languages, including Telugu, which starred Samantha as the lead, reprising Shraddha Srinath’s role in the original

Where To Watch - Netflix

Ondu Motteya Kathe (2017)

This debut film of Raj B Shetty is too good to be ignored that it has already been remade into Malayalam as ‘Thamaasha’ and as ‘Ujda Chaman’ in Hindi. The Telugu film ‘Nootokka Jillala Andagaadu’ and Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘Bala’ are also loosely based on the premise of this comic tale, which is about a bald man's struggle to deal with the society-induced insecurities and stereotypical prejudices, in his attempts to get married. The film’s producer, Pawan Kumar made the Full Movie available to watch on YouTube along with English subtitles.

Where To Watch - YouTube

 Gantumoote (2019)

Roopa Rao’s coming-of-age drama will make a strong impression on almost every teenage girl of the 90s who experienced first love, gone through bitter moments, had sweet dreams, never had answers to the questions never asked, and a lot more. The ‘Baggage’ (Gantumoote in English) of a 16-year-old girl’s ‘Bag Age’ experiences before the era of internet, feels so relatable and raw for the girls who are labelled ‘shy’ and ‘sensitive’. Film critic Baradwaj Rangan might’ve spoken many minds when he said “This beautiful film feels almost like a betrayal of Meera (film’s lead), who wants to keep everything inside her.” 

Where To Watch - Amazon Prime

Dia (2020)

With poignance and tragedy at its heart, ‘Dia’ explores the complicated love life of an introverted girl, whose character’s name is also the film’s title. Director K S Ashoka has opted for a name / title that’s exactly opposite to how the romance drama makes you feel, and it leaves you teary-eyed. The film was also remade into Telugu as ‘Dear Megha’, as ‘Dear Dia’ in Hindi and as ‘Sari’ in Marathi.

 Where To Watch - Amazon Prime

Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vaahana (2021)

A mix of mythology and modernity, Raj B Shetty’s ‘Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana’ is an authentic story built around the themes of gangster violence, brotherhood and friendship in the world of Mangaladevi, with the mythical tales of Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara (Shiva) at its core, driving the narrative forward in the most compelling way. Just two words — Must Watch!

Where To Watch - Zee5

Gandadha Gudi & 777 Charlie (2022)

Keep a bunch of tissues handy when you’re watching either of these two films. One is a swansong film of late actor Puneeth Rajkumar who sets out on a journey to explore the beautiful land he was born and raised on, while the other is a tearjerker on the most heartwarming friendship between a man and his dog named ‘Charlie’. 

Where To Watch - Amazon Prime


If Gandadha Gudi, directed by an award-winning wildlife filmmaker Amoghavarsha, takes Appu and us on a journey through the picturesque biodiversity of Karnataka, Kiranraj K’s 777 Charlie immerses us in the depths of pure emotions.

Where To Watch - Jio Cinema

Aachar & Co and Saptasaagara Daache Ello - Side A (2023)

Sindhu Sreenivasa Murthy’s coming-of-age comedy drama, Aachar & Co evokes nostalgia by taking us back to the 60s and 70s’ Bengaluru, and into the families of conservative Brahmin households of the era. This family entertainer takes you through a gamut of human emotions, while touching on subjects of patriarchy, gender roles, individual freedom, women empowerment, domestic violence, and a lot more. It might not be a new story, but it’s definitely a fresh narrative which doesn’t take any sides.

Where To Watch ‘Aachar & Co’ - Amazon Prime


Releasing in Telugu as ‘Sapta Sagaralu Dhaati’ on September 22, Hemanth Rao’s immersive romance drama Sapta Sagaradaache Ello - Side A, starring Rakshit Shetty and Rukmini Vasanth, has been winning praise from all corners for the brilliant performances, absorbing screenplay (the film is co-written by Gundu Shetty) and the unforgettable cinematography by Advaitha Gurumurthy. In the words of film critic Subha J Rao, “It’s like a conch shell that’s far removed from the ocean, but still resounds with the sounds of the vast expanse of water.”

Where To Watch - In The Theatres

Apart from the movies in the list above, there are also films like Love Mocktail, Kavaludaari, Avane Srimannarayana, Vikrant Rona, and Toby, which must be watched by movie lovers for various reasons. All in all, keep an eye on the films coming out from the minds of the new generation of talents in the Kannada film industry.

Updated date:  Wednesday, 20 Sep 2023 - 6:56 PM

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