Ekalavya isn’t a great movie. But it is, without doubt, a very good one. It is gorgeously shot and well acted, narrates a simple plot well and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It has its flaws too, chief among them being a tendency to overstate things in its dialogue. But on balance, it’s well worth a dekko.
Its biggest strength by far is its visuals. The opening credit sequence depicts the myth of Ekalavya in animated form (with AB’s voice-over) – it’s beautiful how it almost seamlessly segues into a shot of the palace reflected in a pond at night.
My favourite scene, however, is one that adopts a rather startling visual strategy: complete darkness. Ekalavya figures that the king has been killed by his brother and nephew, and decides to take revenge. The nephew is watching a movie in a darkened room when Ekalavya gets there. He switches off the lights and kills him in the dark. You see nothing for about a minute and a half. You hear only his voice, and the victim’s laboured breathing.
People have shot scenes in pitch darkness before. They usually have little flashes of light from some conveniently placed source for intermittent illumination. This was surprising. Not illogical or strange. Just surprising that someone would actually do this.