Gautham Nanda: A stylish spectacle
Sampath Nandi’s sprawling attempt to tell an emotional story about two contrasting characters is good, but lacks soul
It wasn't too long ago that Gopichand played dreadful villains and delivered some unblemished performances. But in recent years, we only know him as a hero thrashing goons and spouting witty one-liners in films like Laukyam and Jil among others. Before watching Gautham Nanda though, it would be wise to watch some of his earlier films like Jayam or Varsham.
Cast: Gopichand, Hansika, Catherine Tresa, Chandra Mohan, Sita, Sachin Khedekar, Mukesh Rishi
Direction: Sampath Nandi
Ghattamaneni Gowtham (Gopichand) is a billionaire with a heart of gold who goes on a road trip in search of himself. Moments before he hits the road, he is slapped by a bartender. Humiliated, Gowtham takes an extreme step and accidentally bumps into his doppelganger Nanda (also played by Gopichand). The duo agree to swap their identities as Gowthan wants to experience all emotions of life (pains, pleasure, hunger, and success), while Nanda, a slum dweller, aspires to become rich as he believes that money makes one happy.
The film's first half moves at a leisurely pace and director Sampath Nandi takes a generous amount of time to establish both the lead characters and get into the actual story. The first song Zindagi na milegi dobara is a feast as it was loaded with adventure sports and picturesque locations of Dubai. The film also wonderfully captures the sufferings of a poor family which leads a hand-to-mouth existence. These episodes apparently go down well with the masses.
The second hour of the film hangs together surprisingly well, thanks to on-point performances. Gopichand, in his makeshift role of a greedy slum dweller, looks more convincing. In another instance, where Gowtham rattles out to his parents that Nanda is exploiting his identity and has a motive behind his every step, the actor strikes a perfect balance between the two roles with ease.
As for performances, Hansika seems wasted on a stereotype and has nothing much to offer. Catherine Tresa ends up as a glamour doll, but has done a neat job in her dubbing. The track involving Bithir Sathi, Vennela Kishore and Vidyullekha Raman provides some hearty laughs. Chandramohan, Sachin Khedekar and Sita are all at their usual best. Mukesh Rishi and Nikitin Dheer stand out in their negative roles.
Thaman’s music is a letdown, but refreshingly, his background score is quite different from his regular fare. The cinematography is enriching, but the editing could have been a bit more crisp.
Gautham Nanda is stylish with a lot of eye candy, but isn’t more satisfying than Gopichand’s earlier outings. It’s Sampath Nandi’s sprawling attempt to tell an emotional story between two contrasting characters. Had there been some soul as well, the film would have been a lot more engaging and entertaining.