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Times of India
Suresa is an innocent lad, who has grown up in the forest. His needs in life are simple. When his love for a woman takes him to the city, his innocence is challenged. Can he pull through?
To begin with, films like Huliraaya are few and rare. We saw Rama Rama Re that made the viewers introspect over karma with allusions to Mahabharatha and Bhagavad Gita last year. And now Kaushik makes a commendable comeback with a film that makes one question oneself about how innocence can be taken away so easily when one gets consumed in the rat race of life.
The film begins with the protagonist Suresa, aka Huliraaya, recounting his life's journey from the forest to the city, to a software engineer he has held hostage. How an innocent Suresa, whose life and soul lies in the forest, grows up on the folklore of the spirit of Huliraaya and Kanglish songs taught by the older folks. The story traces how this content guy goes to Bengaluru to make money to impress his lady love's father. Does greed get the better of him? Will the skyscrapers dwarf his innocence?
While Huliraaya is an interesting tale that symbolically uses the forest and cities as metaphors for people to introspect, Balu Nagendra as the protagonist ensures this tale is enjoyable with his performance. He is one actor to watch out for, as his performance lifts the story and gets one to feel with him through his journey. Newbie Divya Uruduga also shows potential as she lights up the screen with her peppy act. The cinematography, background score, soundtrack and locations ensure that one is engrossed. Though, the film does lag at places and has a climax that may seem to be a cop out.
The film may have its shortcomings, but those can be overlooked by the performances and the story's novelty. While filmmakers saying they've made a 'different film' is a cliche in the film industry, Huliraaya genuinely is a different effort and it is worth a watch if you're game for something substantial and out of the box.