Posted by harino1 on March 1, 2008
For any student of world cinema, Walter Salles’ film Diarios de ‘motocicleta’ or ‘Motorcycle Diaries’ made in 2004 is a must-watch movie as it brings on to the screen the gradual evolution of a medical student, Che Guevera into a revolutionary. The film has acquired cult status given its autobiographical story and wonderful performances by Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, who plays Che and Argentine actor Rodrigo de la Serna, who plays his friend Granado and their youthful exploits across Latin America which eventually shaped Che’s political ideology.
Coming back to our film ‘Gamyam’, it has been made by one such debutant director who has been inspired like many others world over by Che’s journey around South America. But Radhakrishna needs total credit for keeping the key elements intact, while playing around with a totally different story within his chosen framework. There is the motorcycle, there is the journey and there are the two friends. However, Radhakrishna’s take of the same film runs on a parallel track, and it nowhere tries to cross path with the original. The director’s originality comes forth in using a love story to tell what the original film sought to say too — Let the World Change You and You Can Change the World.
So, we have a filthy rich, spoilt brat Abhiram (Sarvanand) who falls in love with Janaki (Kamalini Mukerjee). Only in this case, the doctor happens to be Janaki who is no less than Florence Nightingale. While seeking help for one such service, Abhi falls for Janaki and there is a brief courtship. But it’s not before long that Janaki realizes that their worlds are diametrically opposite to each other and runs away from Abhi.
This sets the tone for the film. And off goes Abhi on the journey of his life to find Janaki. This takes him from place to place and he overcomes his prejudice towards the common man by living on the streets, literally. En route, he finds a friend and companion in Gaali Sreenu, a good-hearted thief. He brings cheer and hope into Abhi’s life and makes his journey much more memorable and enriching than he ever imagines.
There are strong social references all over the film — from Sreenu’s fighting the goons to save a dancing girl to a dialogue between a Maoist and his former associate, who chooses to return to people to carry forward his cause. Despite being loaded with such heavy duty messages, the ingenuity of the director comes forth as the film does not fall into the usual trap of ‘preachy-speechy’ films.
Instead, Radhakrishna interweaves all talk of social responsibility and awareness with Abhi and Janaki’s love story. This naturally keeps the flow intact, while keeping it as different from the original film.
‘Motorcycle Diaries’ had wonderful performances by Bernal and Serna. Of course, it would be criminal to compare them with Allari Naresh and Sarvanand. However, one has to confess that both the heroes try to infuse life into their characters by being as original as possible. Their body language and dialogues are simply superb, thanks to Nagaraju Gandham.
While Naresh walks away with an author-backed role as Gaali Sreenu, Sarvanand too does a good job till the second half. By the end of it, he almost loses grip over himself and gets into ham mode. Unfortunately, Kamalini gets to play sugary Janaki, who seems to be a bit too idealistic. But again, she is used as a counterfoil to Abhi’s character and probably the director needed that extra bit of sweetness to make his point.
It is in the second half that Hari Anumol gets to show off his cinematographer’s skills. As said earlier, it would be mean to compare it with the original, which had some amazing shots in the Latin American countryside.
‘Gamyam’ is a film that showcases the cinema of new-age directors in Telugu. Radhakrishna deserves a bow for this one surely!
Cast: Allari Naresh, Sarvanand, Kamalini Mukherjee, etc
Banner: First Frame Entertainment
Producer: Saibabu Jagarlamudi
Cinematography: Hari Anumolu