Rating: *

There are no silverlinings in director Jayatheertha’s tenth Kannada feature film. Jayatheertha is a name to reckon with in Kannada cinema. His blend of social message and provocative themes seldom fails.

His latest film, Kaiva ,now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, reeks of compromised creativity. Outwardly it proudly flaunts its liberalism like ittar being sprinkled at a gangster’s daughter’s wedding.Underneath the smiling surface and superficial aroma there is a rot that Shakespeare’s Denmark would identify with.

We first meet the hero Kaiva(Dhanveerah, trying hard to look naïve and strong) as a young migrant to the city with hopes of earning a decent living. Instantly he acquires a sidekick, an appendage essential in Indian cinema so that the hero can mansplain his feelings for the object of his adoration to the audience.It matters little to Kaiva that his ladylove is from the “other” religion.

Love has no boundaries, Kaiva tells the sidekick, who looks back with infinite adoration(makes you wonder , why don’t the heroes just marry their sidekicks and be done with it).

Kaiva sees Salma(Megha Shetty) , and there is instant chemistry.At least, so we are told. Going by the stolen glances and swooning songs, the couple looks like two teenagers out on an extended first date.

Making matters worse, director Jayatheertha wreathes the love story in gallons of icky blood and vicious violence. We soon realize that the love story is nothing but a pretext for a deepdive into gruesomeness. In fact the violence is so gratuitous that the heroine is speech impaired only so that her torture could be amplified when she is assaulted by the villains.

There are two major female characters Salma , the pristine Muslim girl, and Rosy the goodhearted Catholic vamp. Both are brutally attacked .

When we first meet Rosy she is singing Lata Mangeshkar’s Yeh samaa samaa hai yeh pyar ka in a night club in Bangalore in the 1980s.

Do not seek correct cultural references in such chaotically kitschy set-ups where every character looks and behaves like a token rather than a human being. The film is ostensibly set in the 1980s . It makes pointed references to real-life incidents of that period,but is unable to make any claims to credibility in its storytelling and characterizations.

Kaiva is a storehouse of illogical impunity and terrible acting. It attempts to suck the audience into its universe of torture and violence but fails miserably.