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Movie review - Gangotri
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Jeevi rating: 3/5
: kids turned lovers
Genre: Love
Banner: United Producers
: Allu Arjun, Aditi Agarwal, Suman, Prakash Raj, Bharani, Seeta, Pragathi, Sakuntala, Brahmanandam, MS Narayana, AVS, Sobha, Sunil, Master Teja, Baby Kavya
Story - Screenplay: Chinni Krishna
Dialogues: Viswanath
Lyrics: Veturi, Chandra Bose
Music: MM Keeravani
Cinematography: Chota K Naidu
Art: Ashok
Editing: Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao
Stunts: Vijayan
Co directors: Rambabu, Vijay Babu, K Seenu
Executive Producer: K Satya Sai Baba
Presenter: Allu Arvind
Producer: C Aswini Dutt
Direction: K Raghavendra Rao
Theatrical release date: 28th march 2003


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Neelakanta Naidu (Prakash Raj) is a big factionist. He has a loyal confidant called Narasimha (Suman), who is willing to give his life for the sake of his master. After gap of many years, Neelakanta Naidu's wife gives a birth to a baby daughter. But all the earlier babies born to Neelakanta Naidu expired due to some unknown reason. The priests advise Neelakanta to name his daughter as 'Gangotri' (Aditi Agarwal). They also warn Neelakanta that the kid is having 'jalagandam', hence they ask Neelakanta to take Gangotri to the holy place of Gangotri in Himalayas and do the 'abhyangana snanam' (bath with turmeric, milk etc.) for the next 15 years. After 15 years, Gangotri would be free of any dangers.

When nobody could entertain the kid Gangotri; Simhadri (Allu Arjun) - the son of Narasimha - makes her smile by entertaining her with a song. Simhadri becomes a servant cum friend to Gangotri. They grow together. In the mean time mother of Simhadri (Seeta) sacrifices her life to save Neelakantam.

When Gangotri attains puberty, Gangotri's aunt (Sakuntala) restricts Simhadri from meeting Gangotri. Gangotri and Simhadri realize that they fell in love. When Simhadri comes to Gangotri's place clandestinely to meet her, they are caught red-handed by Neelakantam. Neelakantam beats Simhadri. Meantime, Narasimha comes to the spot and interferes. This causes a rift between Neelakantam and his trusted lieutenant Narasimha. Neelakantam is misinformed about Narasimha's intentions; hence he bombs the house of Narasimha. Simhadri is away at that time. When Simhadri comes to know that Neelakantam is responsible for the bombing, he comes to Neelakantam's house and challenges that he would marry Gangotri in 365 days.

Then Simhadri reaches Gangotri and waits for his ladylove to come to that place for the final 'abhyangana snanam' (sacred bath). The rest of the film is about how Simhadri and Gangotri unite together.


Allu Arjun: Allu Arjun - the son of ace producer Allu Arvind and nephew of Megastar Chiranjeevi - is launched with a dream project directed by K Raghavendra Rao. On the looks front, Arjun is pretty average. He has shown the sparks of brilliancy with his histrionics in a few vital scenes (scene challenging Prakash Raj and the climax scene). He did well in sentiment scenes as well. His voice needs some toning and modulation. He looked odd wearing those knickers in the first half (pre-puberty days). In the second half (post-puberty days) he looked good. Every actor has weaknesses and strengths. Allu Arjun should choose roles that amplify his strength and nullify his weaknesses. But unfortunately, his main asset of dancing talent has gone unnoticed because of not having many mass tunes in this film. Vijayan composed good fights for Arjun in the climax.

Aditi Agarwal: She looks pretty tender in the role of Gangotri. Since she has to be shown as a small girl in the first half, the glamour aspect was not touched. In the second half, she is glamorous in the song of 'Nuvvu Nenu Kalisunte'.

Prakash Raj: Prakash Raj gets the lion share of footage in this film. By now, Prakash Raj has done so many roles that he nothing new to offer when he attempt these kind of roles. However, there are a couple of scenes where he was fresh.

Others: Suman is very smart in this film, but has a limited role to play. Seeta too has a short role, but she is at her best. Sunil made a special appearance as a master in this film. His dance (wearing a red shirt, red pants and white shoes) with Arjun for Mavayyadi Mogalturu song is hilarious. Tanikella Bharani played a positive role.

Technical Departments:

Story - Screenplay: Story of the film has few drawbacks:

1. There is no justification about why Suman is willing to give his life to his master Prakash Raj, without bothering about his wife and son.

2. When Suman had an argument with Prakash Raj and comes back, he is misinterpreted as he has joined hands with rivals of Prakash Raj. With that information Prakash Raj summons his goons to bomb Suman's house. But the real nature of Suman and his loyalty towards his master was not revealed to Prakash Raj through any character later. Hence this thread becomes an incomplete one.

3. Seeta ties bells to the neck-thread of Suman so that he would listen to ringing of bells whenever he tries to kill somebody. Those ringing bells remind him of his family and hence discourage him from indulging in any violence. But later on, those same bells are tied to the wrist-thread of Arjun. Those bells mainly help him in fighting with the goons in the second half. Hence the bells, which were meant to preach non-violence, are used for violence.

4. Since hero and heroine are childhood friends, the moments when they fall in love with each other and the incidents where their friendship turns into love relationship has to be shown very carefully. He established the scene of showing heroine's affection to hero very well (in stone throwing incident). But he did not have a gripping scene where and when the hero falls in love with heroine.

Chinni Krishna has the habit of using a divine element in his stories. Likewise, this story mainly revolves on the holy place called 'Gangotri' - the birthplace of river Ganges. In the first half, he has shown the elements of faction fights. But the second half takes a turn and rivalry shifts towards Prakash Raj and Arjun.

Chinni Krishna has also given screenplay for the film. Screenplay of the film is pretty slow in the first half and erratic in the second half.

Direction: When K Raghavendra Rao - the legend of Telugu cinema - directs his 100th venture - the expectations are pretty high. And it's very difficult for anybody to satisfy that kind of expectations. K Raghavendra Rao is known for his exceptional handling of songs department. His mark is evident in all songs. He is also pretty good at inserting songs into storyline without disturbing the flow. He managed well in establishing the characters in the first half. But he could not handle the second half of the film in a proper manner. The climax should have been better.

Dialogues: Dialogues by Viswanath are good. He should have added more humor to the dialogues.

Music: The main asset of the film is mellifluous and melodious tunes by Keeravani. Here are the sequences of songs in the film.

1. Jeevana Vahini: This song comes as backdrop for the titles of the film. Various scenically beautiful locales where river Ganges flows are shown. This is the theme song of the film and the same music is repeated in various scenes.
2. Vallanki Pitta: This song starts as the song between two kids (Gangotri and Simhadri). By the time the song is completed, the kids grow up.
3. Railu Bandi: This song explains the journey of Gangotri train through seven states.
4. Mavayyadi Mogalturu: This song is the highlight of the film. Allu Arjun did extremely well in the female get-up. The way he seduces and dances with Sunil is superb. This is the best mass song of the film. Lawrence choreography helped this song a lot.
5. Oka Thotalo: K Raghavendra Rao has his typical style of showing symbolism. When heroine attains puberty, the camera moves on to a flourished flower. Hero comes to entertain heroine's 'pushpavati function' by singing a song on heroine by comparing her to a flower.
6. Nuvvu Nenu Kalisunte: This is the best song of the film. KRR used all kinds of fruits in this song for a great effect. Allu Arjun does a couple of mass steps in this song. This songs comes as a separation song with heroine in AP and hero in Gangotri.
7. Ganga: Another song on Ganga symbolizing the love between lead pair to the purity of river Ganges.

Photography: Photography by Chota K Naidu is excellent. He captured the beauty of Gangotri and other holy places with camera and presented us with the virtual tour of holy places.

Production: The movie comes from the stable of two of the most prestigious producers of Telugu cinema - Aswini Dutt and Allu Arvind. The production values are very rich.

First half of the film is decent as it establishes basic characters. But the tempo has not picked up in the second half. Hence the second half has become very slow. The climax of lead pair going into unconsciousness (or death?) and coming back to life again is not appealing. Over all its an average film. The plus points of the film are the good songs followed by photography. The minus point of the film is lack of comedy (except for Sunil's episode and AVS episode). We have to wait and see how this summer release is going to quench the thirst of Box Office.

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