Gangs of Godavari Review: Has unengaging storytelling

Gangs of Godavari

What’s  about?

Lankala Rathnakar (Vishwak Sen) hails from the islets in the Godavari delta region and leads a gang with the ambition of attaining wealth and influence. He forms a friendship with the local MLA Doraswamy Raju (Goparaju Ramana), but also strikes a deal with MLA’s opponent Nanaji (Nasser). His duplicity proves advantageous, leading to his swift election as an MLA.

However, in addition to engaging in a relationship with a local prostitute Rathnamala (Anjali), he also pursues a romantic involvement with Nanaji’s daughter (Neha Shetty) and eventually marries her.

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The act of getting married and assuming the power as MLA brings about numerous challenges for him, resulting in clashes with both politicians and members of his own gang.

Analysis

“Gangs of Godavari” is essentially a narrative that follows the journey of an ambitious person who aspires to attain power and renown in a region where his own father met his demise. This is a quintessential tale of a leader’s ascent and subsequent redemption, a narrative that has been portrayed in numerous Hollywood and Indian films. But the primary issue with “Gangs of Godavari” is that neither the protagonist’s journey nor his character arc, nor the final message, manages to establish a strong connection with the audience.

If the story or narrative lacks compelling elements and the hero’s journey is not relatable, it becomes challenging for the audience to engage with the proceedings. This is what the main issue with the film.

“Gangs of Godavari” takes place in the lanka (small islets) villages in the Godavari delta region of Andhra Pradesh during the 1990s and early 2000s. The primary themes revolve around local politics, love, friendship, and betrayal. It attempts to imitate various aspects of “Pushpa”, “Rangasthalam”, and Mani Ratnam’s “Nayakudu” in several instances. However, the film’s familiar elements and absence of captivating storytelling render it a thoroughly uninteresting viewing experience.

Director Krishna Chaitanya incorporates multiple subplots into the narrative and employs the conventional strategy of initially withholding information and subsequently unveiling it. However, they fail to have any connect. With the exception of a few episodes after the interval, the film fails to captivate the audience.

Ultimately, the film tries to mimic Mani Ratnam’s “Nayakudu” and Vetrimaran’s “Asuran” (Narappa) but Vishwak Sen’s portrayal of an elderly character falls short in resemblance. The makeup and acting in this episode exhibit noticeable imperfections.  In addition, none of the main characters, including Vishwak Sen, Anjali, or Neha Shetty, have any notable moments that would appeal to the audience.

Producer Naga Vamsi asserted during the film’s promotions that Vishwak Sen gave his best performance to date. Although that is up for debate, Vishwak Sen deserves compliments for his efforts to capture the body language and linguistic accent of the Godavari region. The performance, naturally, is characterized by his customary hyperbole.

Anjali has portrayed Rathnamala in a convincing manner. Neha Shetty does what is required for the role neatly.

The composition “Suttumala Soosi” by Yuvan Shankar Raja, a romantic rain song featuring Vishwak Sen and Neha Sshetty, is captivating. Anith Madhadi’s cinematography skillfully captures the geographical and cultural aspects of the ‘lanka villages in the Godavari delta region, adding great value to the film. Krishna Chaitanya once again demonstrates his skill in dialogue writing as a writer.

Bottom line: “Gangs of Godavari” is a regular tale of a protagonist who transcends from a rag to a formidable figure. But this familiar narrative and its numerous subplots are marred by lackluster storytelling.

Rating: 2.25/5

By: Jalapathy Gudelli

Film: Gangs of Godavari
Cast: Vishwak Sen, Neha Sshetty, Anjali, Nasser, Hyper Adhi, Praveen, and others
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
DOP: Anith Madhadi
Editing: Navin Nooli
Art: Gandhi Nadikudikar
Co-Producers: Venkat Upputuri and Gopi Chand Innamuri
Producers: Suryadevara Naga Vamsi and Sai Soujanya
Written and directed by: Krishna Chaitanya
Release Date: May 31, 2024

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