‘The Blueberry Hunt’: Lost in transit (IANS Review, Rating: *)

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Film: “The Blueberry Hunt”; Director: Anup Kurian; Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Vipin Sharma, Aahana Kumra, PJ Unnikrishnan, Yadu Sankalia, Vinay Forrt, Kartik Elangovan; Rating: *

Written and directed by Anup Kurian, “The Blueberry Hunt” is a poorly scripted film which was intended to be a thriller but ends up being a dampener.

With an absurdly wafer-thin plot, the tale revolves around a recluse estate owner, Narasimha Gujral, also known as Colonel, who lives with his German shepherd, Kuttappam, in a highly secured plantation, situated in a remote area.

In an isolated corner of his 30-acre land, he cultivates a high potency variant of marijuana, which is also known as Blueberry Skunk. This crop, with its remarkably high market value, is his prized possession and he nurtures it with care and caution.

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Just a few days before the harvest, the vigilant Colonel gets a surprise visit from his purchaser and his agent and what follows is a series of untoward events. To what lengths the Colonel goes to protect his crop, forms the crux of the tale.

The narration meanders at a leisurely pace. The entire narrative arc hinges on a forced mysterious note and events that are totally unbelievable. The first half aimlessly tries to establish the locale and the major dramatic question. The second half catches your attention as it picks up momentum, but it is the denouement that takes an absurd twist, thus leaving the audience baffled and confused.

With a wild, rustic get-up that includes an interesting hairdo, Naseeruddin Shah portrays the gun brandishing Colonel to perfection, but he does not deliver anything exceptional. He is aptly supported by Aahana Kumra who plays Jaya, the kidnapped medical student who is left in the Colonel’s custody. She is natural on screen and steals your heart with her pleasant personality.

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The others are all half-baked characters who are deliberately included to add mysterious element to the story.

With dialogues in English, Hindi, Marathi and Malayalam, this film seems to be a truly Indian film, but unfortunately, the story seems to be a misfit for the Indian audience.

With excellent production designs, every frame is realistic. The indoor shots with brilliant lighting are atmospheric and well-captured by cinematographer Viswamangal Kitsu. His camera movements too are smooth and elegant.

The editors Unni Vijayan and Mandar Khanvilkar deserve praise for seamlessly interlacing the shots and scenes and creating many edgy moments along with Paresh and Naresh Kamath’s understated score.

Overall, “The Blueberry Hunt” is a decently made film but without excitement.

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