Kannada cinema’s celebration of cultural roots has resulted in some of the massive hits of 2022. A slew of culturally-rooted movies swept the box office this year as their depiction of local customs and traditions drew audiences to theatres. We pick five such Kannada films, apart from biggies such as KGF: Chapter 2 and Kantara, that went on to become massive hits of the year.
Kiranraj K’s adventure comedy-drama 777 Charlie went on to gross more than Rs 105 crore at the box office. The real star of the movie is a labrador dog called Charlie. It also features Rakshit Shetty, Sangeetha Sringeri, Raj B. Shetty, Danish Sait and Bobby Simha.
Dharma (Rakshit Shetty), who lives alone, one day finds a labrador dog, bearing the tag ‘Charlie’, at his door. He takes care of Charlie and they form an unlikely bond. Soon, however, Dharma finds out that Charlie’s ill health is caused by a genetic disorder. The man and his dog then embark on a journey to Kashmir to fulfil Charlie’s long-harboured wish to play in the snow.
Watch it on: Voot
This mystery action thriller written and directed by Anup Bhandari emerged as one of the biggest blockbusters out of Karnataka in 2022. Vikrant Rona stars Sudeep alongside Nirup Bhandari, Neetha Ashok, Ravishankar Gowda and Jacqueline Fernandez. Full of over-the-top action sequences, it went on to gross close to Rs 200 crore at the box office.
Vikrant Rona (Sudeep), who arrives in the tiny village of Kamarottu after the beheaded corpse of a cop was found in a well. In the course of his investigation, Vikrant faces several assassination attempts on his life as he gets to know more about the history of the village. He also suffers personal losses before getting his hands on the culprits.
Watch it on: Disney+Hotstar and Zee5
Writer-director Chethan Kumar’s action film James stars Puneeth Rajkumar in his last lead appearance in a feature film. It also stars Priya Anand, Anu Prabhakar, Srikanth and R. Sarathkumar in key roles. The film went on to gross over Rs 150 crore at the box office.
Santhosh Kumar (Puneeth Rajkumar), the manager of a security agency, is a highly skilled fighter. He is hired by a crime boss in Bangalore to protect himself and his family from enemies. However, in a bizarre turn of events, it is revealed that Santhosh is James, a ruthless assassin, who is an Indian Army major. Santhosh is on an undercover mission to eliminate the crime syndicates of Bangalore.
Watch it on: Sony Liv
Directed and headlined by MG Srinivas, Old Monk became one of the most loved romantic films in Kannada cinema. It also features Aditi Prabhudeva, S. Narayan, Sujay Shastry, Sudev Nair and Aruna Balraj. Made on a modest budget of Rs 1 crore, the film grossed more than Rs 5 crore at the box office.
The story of Old Monk is roughly based on Hindu mythology and explores the character of Narada (MG Srinivas), who is banished from heaven to earth after he creates a quarrel between Krishna and Rukmini. He now has to find true love to reverse his curse. But in a twist, the sage is born into a family that only believes in arranged marriages.
Watch it on: Amazon Prime Video
Jadesh K Hampi’s sports drama film Guru Shishyaru revolves around the traditional Indian sport Kho Kho. It stars Sharan and Nishvika Naidu in lead roles alongside H. G. Dattatreya, Suresh Heblikar and Apurva Kasaravalli. The movie performed well at the box office but after its OTT release, the film exploded.
Set in the mid-1990s, the story revolves around former kho kho national champion Manohar (Sharan), who has become the PT teacher of a school in a village named Bettadapura. He and his students must defeat the team of the nasty landlord of the village to save the land on which the school is situated. Guru Shishyaru received positive reviews from critics for its depiction of Kho Kho and the cast performance.
Watch it on: Zee5
Special mention: Gandhada Gudi
This Kannada-language docudrama film is headlined by Amoghavarsha JS and Puneeth. It also features the final appearance of actor Puneeth Rajkumar.Gandhada Gudi, directed by Amoghavarsha JS himself, explores Karnataka’s rich bio-diversity and embarks on a journey across the length and breadth of the state. Gandhada Gudi is a plea from the makers to keep nature clean, an earnest appeal to respect the biodiversity of the planet. The docudrama became a box office success, collecting Rs 30 crore in just three days.
Watch it on: TBA