Much was expected from Darshan's new film "Shastri" which was hugely advertised in the media as an entertaining action film. Kannada film industry has many charismatic stars, but Darshan has acquired a star status through his action oriented roles which are based on real life incidents of the Bangalore underworld. He had two huge hits like "Kalasipalya' and "Ayya' before the release of "Shastri'. But the new film turns out to be a badly made film which fell flat because of a poor script and shabby narration. Even ardent admirers of Darshan may find the film a let down because it has more weak points than something to talk about.
Darshan fans are large in number as they have a special liking for his fights and mannerisms. "Shastri" has plenty of action and some mannerisms also, but they do not form part of the script. It looks a trifle repetitive and sometimes boorish also. Director P.N.Sathya who did achieve some level of success with Darshan in two films earlier has not done a proper homework in this film.
A poor script and a rank pedestrian narration take the film to lower depths. The film's narration makes it to look like a poor imitation of a hugely successful Kannada film "OM'' starring Shivaraj Kumar directed by Upendra. A few sequences of the film will also remind the viewer of Telugu film "Raghavendra' and Tamil film "Ramana'. And Sathya's preponderance on giving new twists in every sequence of the film creates lot of confusion among the film audience.
"Shastri" tells the story of a medical student Shastri who becomes a victim of circumstances and is led to a life in the underworld. But he is a Good Samaritan Don who helps out poor and depressed. In the bargain, he antagonizes many cruel dons who wants to settle scores with him. Added to this issue, there is a love angle added with Manya playing an arrogant rich girl who is spurned by Shastri earlier.
But Manya takes revenge on Shastri and is indirectly responsible for his entry into the underworld. Shastri tries to turn a new leaf in his life, but it is not possible. Finally, he is stabbed by one of his adversaries in a fight, but he survives and later reunited with his lover.
Darshan plays the role of a Brahmin Student Shastri with relative aplomb, but even he can not save the film from falling into depths. The poor script does all the damage. Heroine Manya who was introduced in "Varsha' is handicapped by an ill conceived characterization. Veteran artists like Govindarao, Radha and Sathyajit are wasted in the film.
"Shastri" is a badly made, poorly directed film. Its music by Sadhu Kokila is also poor and even the photography can not be spoken about in an appreciating measure. Vigilant fans will find the film just a hotch potch of many non Kannada films.