Before death parts them, Malli tells Chitra about the girl who came to their wedding and presented him a gift. Malli (Aadi) is a fisherman and his only dream is to own a boat. He works for a merchant whose teenage daughter (Tapsee) is fascinated by his masculine looks and forces him to love her. That makes his life miserable.
Chitra too narrates her own story to her hubby that she was an orphan raised by an aunty. She loves the aunt`s son Soori (Sandeep Kishan). They are poor and her employer (Ravi Babu) and a doctor tries to take her condition miserable. How Malli and Chitra get married? Would they survive the devastating floods? These form the story.
Gundello Godari is set in 1986 in Godavari district. The film gives an impression that it is a love story but in fact its focus is more on the poor couple and how rich exploit them. Starting off as a beautiful love story between a fisherman and rich teenage girl, and for a change, the girl seduces the man.
With beautifully shot visuals, eye-catching locations, their love story flows slowly but enticingly. The director has shown talent in these portions. But post the interval, the pace and the story goes downhill. It is like watching two different films.
While first half is soothing, second half is boring. Post the interval, the movie focuses on the story of Chitra, the poor girl`s love for her aunt`s son. These scenes look straight out of some 80`s movies. Also, the pairing is odd.
Definitely, the movie has different rustic milieu, cinematography is excellent, the floods are executed well, but what fails to impress is the latter part of the film. Wish the director (who also wrote screenplay) should have worked more on the love story of Chitra. Sluggish pace is another problem.
Also at the end of the movie, we are not sure what the movie is all about, whether it is about two ill-fated persons embarking on a new journey as couple or to show how the rich seek only pleasures from poor, by force or love. Whether the writer and director is intended or not, I believe it is all about rich girl using a poor guy for her own good and a poor girl surviving her miserable conditions.
Aadi as a masculine poor fisherman is perfect. Tapsee as a charmer is charming. As a full-blooded teenager, she brings beauty to the film. Lakshmi Manchu has come up with right getup for her role of 80`s poor Godavari area girl. A better diction would have been made a lot difference.
Sandeep Kishan as a mason who bets on cockfights is okay. In other small roles, Annapurna, Ravi Babu, and Prudhvi make an impression.
Among the technical crew, cinematographer Pazhani Kumar impresses. Beautiful Godavari area looks even captivating through his lens. Many of the scenes are elevated by his work.
Art director and visual effects do a commendable work. The floods are recreated superbly. Maestro Ilayraja`s two songs are good. Editing should have been crispier. Looks like producer Lakshmi Prasanna has spent lot of money to bring the best visual output.
The new director Kumar Nagendra shows much promise. He has made the movie realistically. He has also used some popular hit songs from 80`s throughout the movie to add authenticity.
Gundello Godari, sure does, goes off the beaten track. Like the river Godari, it looks beautiful but unlike the river, this movie lacks depth. An interesting romantic track in the first part of movie, good cinematography, and Tapsee`s charm are submerged by the lethargic second half. Yet, watch it for the commendable effort.