There are so many good movies which aren’t remembered as they should be until someone brings it up randomly. You take Indian film industry of any language, there is an attitude of judging a movie based on the collections it makes at the box-office. The success of the movie is largely based on the star-cast, item songs and Masala items in contrast to its story and narrative. There are instances where some bad movies go on to make an insane amount of money, and many movies are forgotten despite of being good.
When we look at the Kannada film industry, we find so many movies of this kind which can be tagged under the ‘most underrated movies’ meaning, everything is good about the movie than its box office collection. Here we are with such Underrated Kannada movies which are so good that people actually didn’t realize about it when they got released.
The Most Underrated Kannada Movies
Yograj Bhatt’s first movie despite having a strong story base and cult performances didn’t make it big on Box-office. The director still rates this movie as one of his best though he has blockbusters like Mungaru Male and Galipata to his credit. Mani is a critically acclaimed film with Mayur Patel and Radhika Kumaraswamy in lead roles. It had bagged Four state film awards for critics and truly one of Bhatt’s best movie.
Accident is a 1984 Kannada movie directed by the legendary Shankar Nag. Till date, it is considered as one of the landmark films in Kannada Cinema which starred Anant Nag, Shankar, and Arundathi Nag in prominent roles. It was an average hit on the box-office but ended up winning the National Film Award for best film on other social issues at the 32nd National film awards in 1985. It has also won multiple awards at the 1984-85 Karnataka State Film Awards.
Bhoomi Thaayiya Chochchala Maga
It is a 1988 action-drama written and directed by Rajendra Singh Babu who had given blockbusters like Bandhana and Antha. The film featured Shivarajkumar, Ramesh Aravind in the lead roles along with Vijayalakshmi and Shilpa in prominent roles. The plot that this movie carried and the way it is narrated is so engaging that every scene is a bliss to watch. The movie won Karnataka state award for special film of social concern, best story writer (Rajendra Singh Babu) and best dialogue-writer (S. Surendranath).
Ghatashraddha is a 1977 movie directed by the most respected Girish Kasaravalli which starred Meena Kuttappa, Narayana Bhatt, and Ajith Kumar in lead roles. Today’s generation might not have watched this movie and it is so underrated that we even don’t talk about it. The movie is based on the novel written by U.R Ananth Murthy which was sensually presented by Mr. Kasaravalli. It has won three awards at 25th National Film Awards (Best feature film, Best Music Direction for B.V Karanth and Best Child Artist for Ajith Kumar).
Ondu Muttina Kathe
Ondu Muttina Kathe is a 1987 movie directed by Shankar Nag, starring the legendary Dr. Raj Kumar. It is considered as one of the classic movies in the history of Kannada Cinema which was based on John Steinbeck’s book The Pearl. The film didn’t succeed but it is remembered for its brilliant narrative and technical superiority. It is also appreciated for the first Indian film to be shot underwater with Rajkumar at the age of 58. It was in the 80s and the way it was shot is an inspiration to many filmmakers of present generation.
Muttina Hara is a 1990 Kannada war drama directed by Rajendra Singh Babu, starring the legendary Vishnuvardhan and Suhasini. The movie was not a successful venture but it was highly appreciated for Vishnuvardhan’s class acting coupled with the magical performances of Suhasini and K.S Ashwath. Hamsalekha scored music for this and songs became super-hit. The movie won the National Award for the best movie under the regional category, Karnataka state film awards, Best Supporting Actor (Ashwath) and Best Cinematographer (D.V Rajaram).
This is a 2003 Kannada film directed by Nagabharana, starring ShivRajkumar, Rekha Unnikrishnan, and Avinash in the lead roles. It is based on the novel of the same name by Shivaram Karanth (Jnanapitha Award winner). The movie was produced by Parvathamma Rajkumar and the screenplay and dialogues were written by Jayanth Kaikini. The movie won four state awards for first best film, Best Actor, Best Dialogues and Best Music (V.Manohar).
A take-off on the 1973 classic Hindi film “Dhund.” The era of Sunil Kumar Desai’s film career in the Kannada movie industry started with this film. A perfect thriller movie to the core, you know the murderer only at the last. A cult movie, to be precise. Devaraj acted as a villain. His performance was truly remarkable and Shankar Nag at his best! And Avinash as a cop gives one of the best performances in this thriller Kannada movie.
Laali is a 1997 Kannada movie, written and directed by Dinesh Babu, starring Vishnuvardhan, Mohini and Shanti Krishna in the lead roles. One of Vishnuvardhan’s best movies which got him the Best Actor of the Year Award in 1997. You will fall in love with Vishnuvardhan again and the way he has put out his emotions in this movie is truly magical.
If you are Ananth Nag’s fan then this movie is a Must-watch. It is a 1990 film directed by Kodlu Rama Krishna, starring Anant Nag, K.S Ashwath, Sundar Raj and other in the lead roles. It one of the most underrated Kannada movies which definitely deserved much more attention.
Have you heard the famous song “Nammoora Mandara Hoove?” The song belongs to this film. One of Suresh Heblikar’s notable movies. Do not forget to watch this movie if you want to know how some landlords used to treat their workers in the 1970s. A suspense that ends in the last stage of the film with a twist is incredible.
Mathadana is a 2001 Kannada film directed by T.N Seetharam, based on S.L Bhyrappa’s novel. It starred Ananth Nag, Tara, Devaraj, and Avinash in the lead roles. It won the National Award for the Best Feature Film in Kannada and a state award for the best supporting actor (Avinash).
Out of all the movies listed here, this is our personal favorite. It is not available anywhere online and whenever it is telecasted on Udaya movie, we don’t take a chance to miss it. It is 1998 Comedy film written and directed by Dinesh Baboo, starring Vishnuvardhan, Suhasini, and Kashi in leading roles.
If Rakshith Shetty is the most loved filmmaker in KFI then the credits will go to Ulidavaru Kandanthe. It is a 2014 neo-noir crime drama anthology film written and directed by Rakshith Shetty. The entire narrative of UK is so brilliantly weaved that each character has a story to tell in their own perspective.
It opened to a good collection of around 20 Crore in its first week of release. However, collections dropped in the second week to declare it as an average grosser at the box office. (Source: Wikipedia).
Gulabi Talkies is a 2008 movie directed by Girish Kasaravalli and it is based on a short story written by Kannada writer Vaidehi. We wonder as to why this movie was not accepted to its fullest. It was premiered at the Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema and won the Best Film and Best Actress Awards. Umashree for her career best performance won the National Award for Best Actress for this movie.
Aryabhata is a 1999 Kannada thriller directed by K.S Ramanath, starring Ramesh Aravind and Soundarya in the lead roles. It is one of Ramesh’s best movies with a mind-blowing performance by Soundarya. It is a murder mystery which is neatly presented in a way that you really don’t get bored.
Other Movies: Malaya Marutha (Vishnuvardhan), Thamassu (ShivRajkumar), Paramathma (Yograj Bhatt), Dweepa (Soundarya), Bettada Hoovu (Master Lohith / Puneeth Rajkumar) and more.
This was our list of underrated Kannada movies. If you have anything to add then please let us know in the comments below.