Not a lot seems to have changed post ‘Kunjiramayanam’ for director Basil Joseph. Even though the canvas in ‘Godha’ seems much bigger, there are quite a bit of similarities between the two films. Youngsters trying to make a mark, a whole bunch of crazy yet supportive villagers, plenty of hit n’ miss jokes, the outdated color tone (golden brown), a village with an unusual name (Kannadi Kallu).. almost all tropes from the previous film are very much there, but executed in a better way; rest assured, ‘Godha’ stays an entertaining fare throughout its runtime of 2 hours.
The writing doesn’t go haywire at any point and that is a definite plus. Tovino, Wamiqa and Renji Panicker take up a bulk of the screentime and they do not disappoint. In fact, Wamiqa gets to overshadow Tovino on multiple occasions but the latter does not seem to have a problem with it. While the film is told from the perspective of Tovino’s Daasan, it’s Wamiqa’s Adithi and Renji’s Captain who drive the film forward. The first half takes its own sweet time to establish the characters of the village (full of Gatta Gusthi fanatics!) which has got its own history to unfurl. Daasan and his gang are into cricket and this often leads to a clash between cricketers and wrestlers on which sport holds greater leverage at their local playground ‘Manayathu Vayal’.
When Daasan is forcibly sent to Punjab for pursuing his M-Tech, he meets Adithi, an aspiring wrestler who hopes to make it big but standing in her way is her own sibling. Circumstances lead both of them to end up back in Kerala and what ensues is the crux of ‘Godha’. There is a hilarious bit involving Tamil comedian Bala Saravanan in the first half (malayalees will be able to relate to it quite well!). The second half sees Daasan’s gang (Aju Varghese, Biju Kuttan, Kanaran Hareesh, Dharmajan) prominently trying to woo Adhithi. These portions are laced with rib-tickling humour and catchy one-liners. The sportive element, which has recently been played to the hilt post the success of 1983 (Karinkunnam Sixes and Kavi Uddheshichathu..? had volleyball taking center stage, while Georgettan’s Pooram and Thoppil Joppan had stories with a kabaddi backdrop; Rakshadhikari Baiju again had cricket as its backbone!) seems to work positively in favour of ‘Godha’ albeit in a pretty clichéd manner.
The familial exchanges between Captain and his wife add to the overall hilarity. Renji and Parvathy have grown to become Malayalam cinema’s favorite dad (add Siddique to that list) and mom lately. Wamiqa (who was earlier seen in Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam) is convincing as a wrestler both in terms of physique and acting chops. Tovino manages to leave a mark whenever he is on screen, and his transformation/coming-of-age is portrayed quite well (that extended climax wasn’t really necessary though!). Shaan Rahman repeats his trademark melodies and high-pitched cries (‘Aaro Nenjil’ is my pick!). Cinematography by Vishnu Sarma is above-par but the color tones lend an archaic 80s/90s look to the flick. Rakesh Mantodi’s (Thira) writing manages to strike a decent balance inculcating the essential ingredients of comedy, drama and sport to clinch a clear winner. ‘Godha’ is a succulent meal while it lasts; nonetheless the viewer is not likely to leave the cinemas with the feel of having watched a classic like ‘Dangal’, ‘Lagaan’ or ‘Chak De India’. (Simplicity prevails!)
Watch the trailer below: