Godha (2017) Malayalam Movie Review by Veeyen


Basil Joseph’s tweaking of the sport movie recipe in ‘Godha’ works wonders and lifts it up straight on to a prized zone occupied by some of its triumphant predecessors. Strikingly directed and deftly written, ‘Godha’ steps up the rules of the game and wins the combat in a superb take-down.


Godha-Malayalam-Movie-Review-Veeyen

Director Basil Joseph keeps the camera whirring and zooms in on a young woman’s crestfallen face, as she recounts and recollects as to how it had been for her, being a girl, and one who has always held her dreams close to her heart. She lets out her anguish through half uttered sentences, some of which get further smothered under stifled sobs, and some others which she bravely blinks off, even as tears threaten to stream down her cheeks. The camera remains hooked. The spectators find themselves no less captivated.

This is the moment in ‘Godha’ that makes it a film that has all the requisite elements of a pot-boiler and yet which holds fast to the one statement that it so badly wants to make. From this point it vacillates back and forth and emerges to be a stirring film that exhorts this assertion time and again; that there is no stopping you, if all you want is to truly achieve what you have yearned for, all your life.

Godha-Malayalam-Movie-Review-VeeyenAnjaneya Das (Tovino Thomas) is packed off to the University of Punjab by his wrestler dad Captain (Renji Panicker), to pursue an M Tech degree. The University holds more than a degree in store for Das, who runs into a champion wrestler Aditi Singh (Wamiqa Gabbi), who takes him along on a jaunt to learn a lesson or two on life.

Courtesy some sharp writing by Rakesh Mantodi, there is none of the trite women empowerment rant in ‘Godha’ that would make your hair stand up in embarrassment nor a preachy tirade that gets easily passed off as edifying cinema. And yet, Aditi wrestles her way to her dreams, flinging off her impediments and pinning them down as she does to her opponents on the ring, proclaiming all along in unmentioned terms what it truly means to be a woman who has a mind of her own.

Godha-Malayalam-Movie-Review-Veeyen‘Godha’ is more of Aditi’s story than anyone else’s and even the two male leads, Das, and his dad Captain, revive their lives through her rousing perspective. Captain, walks away as his protégée wins a crucial match and stands against the sun that looks all set to go down, his fists clutched together in sheer exaltation and realizing that a new day will break soon and the sun will shine again. For Das, it’s a time to spool back to where he had left off years back, and to finally decide once and for all as to where he truly wants to be, once and for all.

I would very gladly disregard the predictability in ‘Godha’, and will not accuse it of being old-school, since despite all its blatancy, it is a film that is funny, emotional and vigorously insightful by turns. It walks a narrow line between being a categorical entertainer and a motivating film, and mostly pulls it off with élan.

There is also an amazing mellowness with which the romantic track in the film is handled, and in one of the best scenes in the film, Captain in an aside to Das, explains as to what it truly means to be in love. Basil cleverly keeps the fatal flaw at bay, and does not strap Aditi down in a love tussle; instead he simply and charmingly, just lets her be.

Godha-Malayalam-Movie-Review-VeeyenThere is a rigorous prototype that almost all sport films stick to, and ‘Godha’ is no exception, though it tremendously succeeds in being a highly agreeable flick that runs for just a couple of hours. It might just seem that Aditi is Eastwood’s Maggie Fitzgerald in a wrestling outfit, Captain is none other than Frankie Dunn, and that ‘Godha’ is Basil Joseph’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’. And yet, the vital fact is that Basil does not let you down.

‘Godha’ belongs to its terrific female lead Wamiqa Gabbi, who wins the match hands down, with a performance that is bang on, to say the least. Equally convincing is Renji Panicker in a persuasive role while Tovino delightfully restrains his feat to perfection. Parvathy as Das’s mom is easily one of the best screen mothers in Malayalam in recent times, and there is a whole lot of supporting actors who bring in lighter moments aplenty , be it Aju Varghese, Hareesh Perumanna, Dharmajan or Sreejith Ravi. Arushi who plays the mean Pinto – Aditi’s nasty opponent on the ring – or Balasaravanan who brought in some real jollity as Das’s classmate from Tamilnadu deserve a special mention! Shaan Rahman’s musical score is apposite and Vishnu Sharma’s frames, refreshingly luminous.

Basil Joseph’s tweaking of the sport movie recipe in ‘Godha’ works wonders and lifts it up straight on to a prized zone occupied by some of its triumphant predecessors. Strikingly directed and deftly written, ‘Godha’ steps up the rules of the game and wins the combat in a superb take-down.


Verdict: Good


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