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ACT 1978 Movie Review: A hostage drama that exposes bureaucratic corruption

ACT 1978 Movie Review: A hostage drama is one of the rare plots that Sandalwood has ever tried. ACT: 1978, though the trailer created the expectation of a hostage thriller, it turns out to be only a hostage drama. As the title suggests it is a direct reference to the Karnataka Civil Services Act 1978 which has women-centric subject revolving around the bureaucracy.

Kicking off at a brisk pace, the story jumps straightaway into its main theme. A pregnant widow Geetha (Yagna Shetty), accompanied by an old man (B Suresh), goes to an office seeking monetary aid from a government scheme. Geetha turns a suicide bomber and, a gun in her hand, takes employees hostage and brings the State government to its knees to concede her demands. Later it turns out that a desperate Geeta is forced to enact a hostage drama because of corruption. The protoganist who does not want to pay a bribe runs from pillar to post to get the compensation after her father (a farmer) commits suicide in the desperate hope of saving her poverty-ridden family. Her major demand is the dismissal of corrupt officials who use the rules and regulations under the Karnataka Civil Services Act 1978.

The director's effort to build an emotional connect between the protagonist and the hostages through short flashbacks is admirable though the approach to the subject appears casual. The attempt is to show the perils of the failures of the constitutional system in acting against corruption. However, an element of thrill is missing as promised in the trailer. There have been a lot of expectations from the National Award-winning director Mansore. Pramod Shetty, who plays ACP to oversee the operation to resolve the hostage crisis, tries to ensure that nobody is harmed, including Yagna Shetty who happens to be his classmate in school.

Both Pramod and Yagna have given their career best performances to keep the audience seated till the end. Achyuth Kumar as the politician, B Suresh and Shruthi give 100 % justice to their roles as ever.

What adds to the excitement is watching the film in theatre after eight months amid Covid restrictions. ACT-1978 is the first Sandalwood theatrical release under the shadow of the pandemic. It is a one-time watch family entertainer.

Written by Nischith N