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Godavari: A Sublime Journey of Life, Love and All That!

A friend of mine who loves watching Telugu movies had been recommending Godavari to me for a year. I’d heard quite a bit about this movie.  Unfortunately for me though, my Telugu is barely functional at the most and it helps me sit through the usual Masala flicks starring my usual favourite, Mahesh Babu, But for a talk-heavy (or so i figured) movie like Godavari, I didn’t want to risk watching it without subtitles. And out here in Mangalore, Telugu movies release pretty rarely, and if they do, It’s in this super-stuffy single screen the other side of town, So i figured, Might as well wait for the original DVD to come out. So last week, I finally found the original copy of Godavari and I gotta admit, I’m glad i picked it up. :D

From the time I was a kid , I’ve always had a fondness for the Middle of the road genre of movies from the Hrishida and Basuda school of film-making. And Godavari is as middle of the road (More like middle of the river considering the story line :P ) as it gets.

A Scene from Godavari

The movie starts off by introducing the protagonist Sriram (Sumanth) as an idealist in the wrong place at the wrong time. As is shown in the following scenes, He’s a guy who wants to do the right thing, But has absolutely no idea of what to do or how to do it. This is the main reason most of his family looks down upon him and considers him useless. He is in love with his cousin Raji (Neetu Chandra) whose marriage has been arranged with an IPS Officer. Raji has mixed feelings towards Sriram. She adores him but at the same time treats him in a condescending manner because of his unemployed and confused status.

At the other end of the spectrum is Seethamahalakshmi (Kamalinee Mukherjee) who is the eldest daughter of doting but conservative parents. She is a strong-willed woman with a longing to break free and be independent. Unfortunately for her, The garment business that she started isn’t doing too well and her parents keep piling on the pressure on her to get married.

The 2 stories become one on the journey to Bhadrachalam by boat. Sriram is forced into coming to Bhadrachalam by Raji even though he can’t bear to see her with her fiance Ravindra (Kamal Kamaraju). Seetha decides to go to Bhadrachalam after she’s rejected by a potential groom she’d certified average. When Ram and Seetha meet, sparks fly as 2 similar personalities come together.

Kamalinee Mukherjee in Godavari

I’d first heard of Sekhar Kammula when they showed the promos of Dollar Dreams with Mausam by Lucky Ali playing in the background. However, being an offbeat movie, It faded away pretty soon, But as far as i remember, even it got good reviews all around. Anand and Happy Days have both created a major following for themselves in Telugu Cinema and Anand was the David to Shankar Dada MBBS’s Goliath in 2004. Happy Days has been remade in Kannada as Jolly Days which opened to good reviews. So I guess it’s safe to say that i went into this movie with really high expectations. And Man!!! Were these expectations met! This is a guy who seriously deserves heavy duty publicity just for the sheer quality of his movies. He keeps the story in control and never lets us feel even a little restless. The story is simple, sweet and refreshing. This is the perfect movie to watch on a rainy Sunday Afternoon. The dialogues are extremely catchy and memorable without being verbose.

The cinematography by Vijay.C.Kumar is top-notch. The Godavari river and the surrounding areas have been captured so beautifully that It makes you want to take the same journey the characters of the movie have taken. The music by K.M.Radha Krishnan is absolutely sublime. It complements the flow of the movie perfectly. The songs are simple,melodious and pleasant.

As for the performances, Sumanth chips in with a really subtle and fantastic performance. According to what I’ve read about the movie, He was going through some personal troubles during this movie and correct me if I’m wrong, But I feel that these troubles added the extra zing to his performance. Neetu Chandra who has always been a competent performer is simply brilliant here. She portrays the confused and spoiled yet vulnerable Raji perfectly. But the pick of the lot is Kamalinee Mukherjee. She simply wins you over with her portrayal of the spirited and feisty Seetha. There’s something infectious about her charm and it shows in her performance. Kamal Kamaraju does a good job as the controlling Ravindra.
The rest of the cast provide able support, however a special mention must be made of the kid playing Chinna and also Sekhar Kammula as the voice of the dog Koti.

The best part about this entire movie is that there is this sense of balance in the movie. The drama, action, comedy and romance are mixed perfectly and not a single component feels out of context here. An absolute gem of a movie, It deserves to be watched by a larger audience.

By: Vikram Bondal
Posted: February 26, 2013, 8:30 am


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