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'Geetha Govindam' review: The good guy takes over

Vijay Deverakonda and Rashmika Mandanna in the film  

One way to look at Geetha Govindam is, it’s an antithesis to Arjun Reddy, for its lead actor Vijay Deverakonda. Throughout this film, he desperately tries to make the girl believe that he’s the quintessential good guy who a young woman can proudly take home to her parents. At one point, he almost gets roughed up for turning down a girl’s proposal! It’s like he’s repenting his previous bad boy image and turning a new leaf. With some other actor in this role, it wouldn’t have been as much fun. Director Parasuram’s rom-com makes the leading lady, and us, take a new look at Vijay Deverakonda.

The actor who played the lazy boy next door in Pellichoopulu and the self destructive Arjun in Arjun Reddy is transitioning into a star capable of massive box office pull. It would have been easier to do a typical crowd-pleasing mass entertainer with him. But that could also have been his undoing. Parasuram and Vijay carefully avoid those pitfalls. There’s no hero introduction song, he gets just about half a fight sequence and there are no macho dialogues.

In the opening sequence, we see Vijay Govind (Vijay Deverakonda) brooding in a corner of the road in the dead of the night. To a passerby (Nithya Menen), he pours his heart out. He’s a college lecturer who has girls swooning over him. But he maintains a distance because he’s a good guy who wants to get married to a traditional girl. There’s a hilarious scene with a clipping of Bharateeyudu (Shankar’s Indian) that shows the rapport between the elderly couple played by Kamal Haasan and Sukanya, and that’s what Vijay wants from his own future marriage — a bond where words won’t be necessary. Many of us would have observed this little scene in Bharateeyudu but we’ll end up laughing the next time we see it, thanks to this film.

Geetha Govindam
  • Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Rashmika Mandanna
  • Direction: Parasuram
  • Music: Gopi Sundar

Geetha Govindam takes its time to establish how the good hero is perceived as a pervert by Geetha (Rashmika Mandanna) during a bus journey. Vijay makes a wrong move egged on by his friend Ramakrishna (a hilarious Rahul Ramakrishna, playing the kind of friend whose advice you should never listen to), and rightfully gets slapped. Though she doesn’t shout and stop the bus, she calls her brother (Subbaraju) and asks him to arrive at the bus destination. Vijay escapes, only to come face-to-face with Geetha again later, as her brother is the one engaged to his sister.

The rest of the film follows the journey of Vijay and Geetha. Since Vijay is the hero, he gets a chance to redeem himself. Geetha and Vijay are also thrown into situations where they have to get together for the wedding preparations.

The wafer-thin plot is salvaged with humour and the presence of Vijay Deverakonda, who is in great form. Watch him trying to stay calm masking all the frustration when he’s consistently at the receiving end of Geetha. His performance is why you can overlook some portions that feel stretched. The film goes on and on with she in the ‘I think I’m falling for you but I will continue to pretend to be angry’ zone and he with the ‘I love you but I will put up with your tantrums because of my decency and also because I feel sorry for my misstep.’ Rashmika, for the most part, is required to look grumpy. Only when her role progresses beyond this arc do we get to see her doing more. She has an easy screen presence and the potential to handle more well-written parts.

There isn’t much happening with the story beyond the journey of the protagonists. The redeeming portions come towards the end where Parasuram avoids the melodramatic tropes and does something interesting with the characterisation of Subbaraju. The welcome humour through Vennela Kishore, Rahul Ramakrishna and Abhay Betiganti also adds a touch of smartness.

Gopi Sundar’s music works beautifully for the narrative, with Sid Sriram’s ‘Inkem inkem inkem kaavaale’ growing into a new earworm.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 8:18:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/geetha-govindam-review-this-vijay-deverakonda-film-is-an-antithesis-to-arjun-reddy/article24696712.ece

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