Producer: Rakshit Shetty
Director: Kiran Raj.K
Cast: Rakshit Shetty, Sangeeta Shringeri, Raj B Shetty, Danish Sait and Bobby Simha
Platform of Release: Theatrical
By Jyothi Venkatesh
Years after ‘Hachi: A Dog’s Tale’, ‘Marley & Me’ and other popular dog movies won hearts, here is a Kannada film that aims to be in the same league. ‘777 Charlie’, from Kiran Raj and Co, is a five-year effort and it shows.
The film is a moving story that centers on the human-dog relationship. Though spread over 166 minutes of run time, the film tells the story of a man who is stuck in a rut with his negative and lonely existence and spends each day in the comfort of his loneliness by following a routine life from home-factory-home, fights, eating Idlis, smoking and drinking beer. His life is turned upside down when he meets a stray female dog (whom he later named Charlie). Unnamed for a long while, the puppy is later named Charlie (owing to Dharma’s love for comedian Charlie Chaplin) and she is not just a bundle of joy but literal chaos.
This drama which at times stretches to the point of tormenting the viewer as a documentary includes a powerful and relevant message about pet adoption, which can save the lives of these abandoned animals, who deserve to be rescued. The film also emphasizes the importance of contact with animals that may aid with depression and anxiety, particularly in stress-prone conditions.
As far as performances go, I’d say that Rakshit Shetty (also a co-producer) is really in in top form. His bonding with the female dog, especially in comic scenes, is terrific. The labrador is very cute and wonderful, and her eyes have the ability to melt your heart. Sangeetha Sringeri, an Animal Welfare Officer, contributes to the story’s progression, though her role seems to have been cut short abruptly without lending it an additional dimension. Raj B Shetty, a director on his own right, is brilliant as the veterinary doctor.
The cinematography, sound and production design of the film are just some of the undeniable plus aspects. Though the first half is fast-paced, the latter half slows down and becomes an excruciatingly emotional tale. . Interestingly, the screenplay has many Charlie Chaplin movies, especially ‘A Dog’s Life’ playing in the background, which inspired the dog’s name.
The film sets out to deliver home the essential message of pet adoption in a big way. There is a lot of heart and soul in the movie, with moments that will leave you with teary eyes at the end. The best thing about the ‘natural’ film is that Kiranraj makes a brilliant directorial debut and kudos to the dog trainers for ensuring the scenes aren’t artificial. In fact, in most places, it feels like Charlie (like any peppy Labrador) is just living her life on screen. On the whole, it is a cute film dubbed in Hindi as a Pan India film with a soul of its own and quite different from the usual run of the mill Kannada films.