Wow, simply wow. But, could have been better.
I watched Godha with my mother and grandmother. Both of them, not only enjoyed the comedy and action content in the film, but also admired subtle message it gives out about girls.
Anjeneya (Tovino Thomas) is an aspiring cricketer born to a wrestling guru Captain Das (Renji Panicker) whose main dream is to bring the glory of wrestling back to Kerala. Against his will, Anjeneya is asked to go to Punjab to do M-Tech and there he meets Aditi Singh (Wamiqa Gabbi), a young woman passionate about wrestling but is a victim of patriarchal practices. Rest of the deals with how Aditi’s life changes when she comes to Kerala and how she inspires Anjeneya.
I just want to say that this is indeed the kind of film I had been looking forward to. Finally, we get a heroine who is all about determination, ambition, and passion towards her dreams. The film presents a lot of feminist arguments from girls being forced back into the box in the name of marriage, a brother’s jealousy and malevolence, and how female wrestlers should not be underestimated because contact sports gives men and women 50% percent chance to win as it is about self-confidence and skills. This is a film which has Tovino Thomas in the lead role but it is a heroine-oriented film where Aditi is the central character. That is something refreshing to witness and is more of a tribute to girls and their ambitions. The last thing I wanted to see was “Sultan phenomenon” where a highly ambitious woman is taken out of the equation for the man to succeed. This movie is devoid of that. Aditi’s actions and determination inspires Anjeneya and he goes to have his say in the game but before that Aditi is given the platform and chance to show her skills and live her dreams despite being a victim of circumstances. The film is a village, where men are stereotypically shown as perverts and chauvinists (was that necessary?) who finally gathered in the godha to cheer for their heroine. Anjeneya does the same and is less egoistic and sees her as an equal rather than inferior. This part is understood when he proposes to Aditi by telling her that she shouldn’t hang out with “bad boys” and that “good girls don’t do that”. Aditi counters him saying that “what is this good girl? bad girl? What makes you think that you are entitled to do that?“. She turns him down but Anjeneya gracefully accepts, though he waits till she gives him the vibe. It is even more refreshing to see Renji Panicker give the better speech where he says “you are small when compared to Aditi. She is determined and has an aim. You do not prove yourself by dragging her down instead achieve something of you own. That’s what masculinity is about”. Thus Anjeneya goes back to Godha. Plus, we get to see a glimpse into female rivalry and how big challenge it is for everyone to witness. And Aditi is never a damsel in distress who has to be rescued. When perverts misbehave with her, we know that she will be making her move. However, the film does hold up casual sexism, like how men find the idea of women making their first move as an insult to their masculinity. Aditi is shown to be behaving like a boy and she refers to herself as just a “girl” before her brother’s ego but her coming out of the box deserves champagne.
The direction is well executed. We get to experience both rural Kerala and Punjab just the way it is with natural performances and circumstances. We see how boys are crazy about cricket. After Aditi’s victory, even women are inspired to make a stand though it is only subtly. Apart from Aditi, her rival Pinto, and Anjeneya’s mother, the number of female characters who stand out are less. Tovino is fantastic in his role with his comic timings and boyish nature. The scene where he speaks about “porotta and beef roast” is naturally done. The scene where parodies the scene from “Akkare akkare akkare” is hilarious. But, the film simply left out his Tamil friend by the second half. Aju Varghese played the typical womanizer which what is seen in most of his films but he is lively to witness. Wamiqa stole the show with her controlled acting, lively face and wrestling skills. Some of her moves are apt. Tovino and Wamiqa have great chemistry. Renji Panicker, with his tough looks and commanding appearance is adept for the role.
The film, till the end had a lot of promises but after the film, I felt that it is incomplete. Something or the other is missing plotwise, unless they intent to make a sequel. Godha is a very good entertainer that you will surely enjoy if you are looking for something different.
Featured image: IB times