: Anjaneya Das hails from a family of wrestlers but loves cricket more. His dad packs him off to Punjab University for his M-Tech, where he meets Aditi Singh, a passionate wrestler. A series of events land them both back in God’s Own Country and a new episode of kusthi begins.
: For our film industry, it’s a season besotted with the idea of games, playgrounds, and sportsmen. Malayalam alone had two back-to-back movies (Georgettan’s Pooram and Rakshadhikari Baiju) in the recent past which had a playground as a prominent character and here comes the third, Godha. Each of them treated the subject differently and Godha takes it forward with wrestling.
Anjaneya Das (Tovino Thomas) is an ex-wrestler who loves playing cricket with his friends. His dad (Renji Panicker), who is respectfully called Captain by all in their kusthi-crazy village Kannadikkallu, is an avid wrestler. While Das and his friends want to play cricket on the village playground Manayathu Vayal, Captain and his kusthi bros won’t let the younger crowd occupy it for the ‘kuttiyum kolum’ kali. Captain force-admits Das in Punjab University for his higher studies but there, the young lad falls for none other than a firebrand wrestler, Aditi Singh. The duo comes to Kerala for a handful of reasons and there on, kusthi takes over.
Tovino Thomas owns Godha, but it’s Wamiqa Gabbi who drives it forward. From the beginning, it’s her desire to make it big, leopardess-like fights, battle with prejudices and most of all, charm and cuteness that fill the screen with thrill and muscle. It’s her single-mindedness that stays with you after the film. Tovino brings alive his own solo battle towards self-discovery and is lively both as an apathetic guy and as a chiselled aspiring wrestler. Renji Panicker, as a veteran wrestler consumed by the idea to earn back the sport its lost glory, is also stunning. Godha has a lot of easy-yet-effective comedy, aptly conceived music and flawless acting as well.
Even as it touches a chord, you can’t help but compare it with other sports films, especially those discussing the same sport, in the recent past - though it might not be fair. The final fight, the opponent’s attitude, the moves… there are quite a few parallels. Just as you feel proud about how each of the characters soldier on to be the heroes of their own lives, you don’t feel the scenes executing them – especially of wrestling - are as powerful as the ones we have enjoyed in similar movies. Also, Aditi’s path to the ultimate glory in the second half, as per the story, seems a little too easy and thus, is not that impactful. The overall colour tone of the movie also makes you sometimes feel that you are watching an eighties’ film – maybe a brighter setting would have been better.
Godha can be a fun watch for those who don’t bother to compare it to other movies of the genre. Check it out for the effervesce of Wamiqa Gabbi and Tovino’s delightful screen presence.