There was a time when options for entertainment were limited and sex comedies, when they hit theatres, could become a rage. With the explosion of technology in today's world, though, one can think of doing so many fun things on weekends, and running to the theatres to catch the latest movie is just one of the options. On that note, Kannada movie Aadi Purana, which marks the debut of editor-turned-director Mohan Kamakshi, tries to cater to the needs of the young, urban crowd that's always looking for the next quick fix for its unattainable sexual fantasies.
The film is a reimagined version of Kashinath's 1984 hormonal hit Anubhava (experience). There couldn't have been a better title for Kashinath's raunch fest since the male lead (played by the writer-director himself) experiences several things for the first time—marriage, sex, adultery, guilt, etc. The same themes have been adapted by Kamakshi for his 21st century audience. And along with these, the most famous comedy scene in Anubhava—and possibly Kannada cinema—where the protagonist hesitates to ask for condoms at a pharmacy, has also been recreated in Aadi Purana with a few minor changes.
The makers of Aadi Purana dedicate the film to Kashinath in the opening credits and dive head first into the Brahminical world of the 24-year-old virgin lad Aditya (Shashank). Most of the characters are Brahmins and you hear some Sanskrit, and words from Halegannada (Old Kannada), as one of Aditya's men breaks into poems and puns whenever he gets drunk.
Aditya, in a guy-next-door look, ogles at the women around him, but doesn't make a move because he doesn't know how to approach them. Instead, he comforts himself with porn—not just any porn, the adult movie that he watches begins with the words, "Naughty America", and the CD is titled "Bhajane". These jokes may be enough to send a posse of college-goers into a frenzy, but they'll understand soon enough that Aadi Purana has little else to offer.
Kamakshi must have been inspired by the numerous engineers-don't-get-girls memes, for his lead is a cardboard caricature of a loser-boy-gets-a-girl template. Oh, and, if you still haven't got the hint, he gets the girl with the help of his parents. It's an arranged marriage where the woman, a fresh graduate with homemaking interests (Ahalya Suresh as Ramya), asks Aadi a couple of questions at a café before she decides to agree to the wedding.
Perhaps the film's most enjoyable moments are at this point, as the wedding song is richly shot and edited. This is not a compliment—for a sex comedy, Aadi Purana talks a lot about sex but forgets to find any humour in the mundane characters it brings to the screen.
I haven't spoken about the other female lead (Moksha Kushal as Disha) yet. I may have blocked her out, like the film does with her character for the most part until it needs to teach a lesson to the hero. Kushal's character is modelled on Umashree's from Anubhava, the third person in the movie's love triangle. Though her character isn't a typical seductress, Kushal looks strikingly different from the other Brahmin characters. Her clothes, manner of speaking and job make her stand apart from Aditya's family and friends, and hence, there's a dialogue where the word "bold" is used to describe her.
Kushal is actually the only lead character to do her job well in the movie. Rangayana Raghu, in a supporting role, steals the thunder from the rest of the cast with a poignant monologue toward the climax. Kushal also gets a monologue to deliver a few minutes later. These actors make the other two leads, Shashank and Suresh, fade in comparison.
Aadi Purana, as the title suggests, narrates the story of Aditya, but Shashank can neither bring sadness nor jubilance to his face as needed. He's a pickle in the wrong jar.