Geethanjali (Telugu) : To Death….Regards, Life.

To,

Death (Whenever it will occur)

Love is just a four letter word. But if you are Mani Ratnam and it is his take on that emotion, then even life and death revolving around it can be a memorable and overwhelming experience. Death is inevitable and no one can stop it, but to enjoy the real beauty of life you need to embrace love along. There is a moment in Geethanjali where the main character snuggles like a small kid in the lap of the male protagonist. This scene defines the beauty of warmth and touch between two people uncertain about their destiny and life.

Mani Ratnam’s take on the 3 important elements of a human existence which is Life, Love and Death is as fascinating as it can get between 2 people. These aspects can be intertwined between all existing relationships of a living being, but holds more value and beauty when illustrated between a man and woman.

The 8th directorial venture and the only Telugu film attempted by him till now, Mani Sir took cues from the diary of a Delhi based 11 year old girl who was suffering from terminal cancer. Naming the film and the female lead character after her, Geethanjali had written her thoughts and emotions, which moved Mani Sir to film it on celluloid.

Released few months before Ram Gopal Varma’s Shiva, Nagarjuna played the lead role of Prakash who is a blithe and playful youth. Getting seriously injured in a road accident during the celebrations of completing his graduations, he gets diagnosed with terminal cancer and few months to survive. Taking off to Ooty for few weeks, he encounters Geethanjali (Girija), a girl full of zest for life who is notorious for pulling pranks on people around her. It is in such a situation while reiterating the joke back on her, that Prakash comes to know off the fact that even Geethanjali is living her last few days. Her attitude and vivacity rubs on Prakash who takes to life in a different meaning and how they survive such a compound situation forms the rest of this movie.

Though the film does not break any new grounds in its story but the crackling romantic moments are one of the best I have seen in Indian cinema. The playfulness during their liking for each other or the single take song “Om Namaha” where they kiss, touch and feel each other, sans any sexual insinuation shows how Mani Sir knows his job. Without doubt this is one of the most romantic songs in the history of Indian cinema.

The only blemish and a big one at that being a forced comedy track involving Disco Shanti which is no way connected to the main theme of the film. Have heard that there is a cut which is devoid of this track, but never got hold or have been in a position to view it.

Shot through the lens of P C Sriram, Ooty has never looked as beautiful as evidenced here. Most of the scenes were shot with a mist around, giving the romance a more dreamy and poetic effect. It is no wonder that the movie was filmed in an early morning slot and the outcome is just terrific.

Illaiya Raja delivers the perfect soundtrack with all songs still unforgettable even in this day and time. Though Anand Milind who used to make their living has re-used most of the tracks in various Hindi films, the original songs here are melodious and soulful with great vocals by S P Balasubramanium, K S Chitra and S Janaki. The songs have been shot with great aplomb like ‘’Jagada Jagada’’ and show the mastery of Mani Sir in this medium. Even the background score is outstanding especially the ‘’Oh Priya Priya’’ hymns.

Nagarjuna underplays his role pretty well and keeps a distinct gloomy look which shows his state of mind. But it is newcomer Girija Shettar who brings a lot of exuberance to the proceedings with her free spirited soul. Her jovial nature is completely believable without getting too preachy in such a film. Unfortunately apart from Priyadarshan’s Vandanam and a small cameo in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander where she was supposed to play Aamir Khan’s love interest and got later replaced by Ayesha Jhulka, there is no filmography to boast about. Vijayakumar and Radhabai as Girija’s father and grandmother and even Sumitra as Nagarjuna’s mother provide adequate support.

Dubbed in Tamil as Idhayathai Thirudathey, Geethanjali was a National Award Winner as Best film for providing wholesome entertainment. Further strengthening the position and image of Mani Sir as India’s whiz kid, Geethanjali is a landmark film and will always be remembered as one of the better movies to come out of the stable of Telugu film industry.

Regards,

Life(As much you can live and enjoy)

PS: This movie was remade in Hindi as Yaad Rakhegi Duniya starring Aditya Panscholi & Rukhsar and gives one more evidence of Mani Ratnam’s popularity among filmgoers, as eventually every film after Mouna Ragam has either been dubbed or adapted for National audiences.

Read more reviews on MANI RATNAM BLOGATHON:

1. Pallavi Anupallavi (Kannada) 2. Unaroo (Malayalam) 3. Pagal Nilavu (Tamil) 4. Idaya Kovil (Tamil) 5. Mouna Ragam (Tamil) 6. Nayagan Tamil) 7. Agni Natchathiram (Tamil) 8. Geethanjali (Telugu) 9. Anjali (Tamil) 10. Thalapathi (Tamil) Take 2 Thalapathi (Tamil) 11. Roja (Tamil) 12. Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil) 13. Bombay (Tamil) 14. Iruvar (Tamil) Take 2 Iruvar (Tamil) 15. Dil Se…(Hindi) Take 2 Dil Se…(Hindi) 16. Alaipayuthey (Tamil) 17. Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil) Take 2 Kannathil Muthamittal(Tamil) 18. Yuva (Hindi) 19. Aayutha Ezhuthu (Tamil) 20. Guru (Hindi) 21. Raavanan (Tamil) 22. Raavan (Hindi)

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24 thoughts on “Geethanjali (Telugu) : To Death….Regards, Life.

  1. I’ve seen the Hindi version of the same movie..”Yaad rakhegi Duniya” years ago n still remember it very well. Liked it… Never knew, it was a remake.. Thanks for dis review… will b looking forward 2 watch the original.

    • Nidhi i am glad that my review will tempt you to watch the original…. Happy viewing 🙂

      Don’t be further surprised if you find “O Priya Priya” song from DIL being a straight life of a melody from here 😛

  2. One unique character about Manirathnam’s movies are that they don’t seem culturally outdated even if released many years later. Bharathiraja’s villages are fast disappearing and his movies will stand a testimony to the cultures that once existed in Rural India.

    However, Take Mouna Raagam or Idhayathai Thirudathey and release them in 2012. People can still identify with these characters.

    • I was stunned to find out that his characters were way ahead of its time in Pallavi Anupallavi itself…

      But then there is a definite audience and relativeness with Bharathi Raja’s characters too, though rural but yes not extinct.

  3. The Best part about Manirathnam’s movies are that they fit easily into the mindset of any generation. Bharathiraja’s Villages are slowly becoming extinct and his movies shall stand eventually testimony to the rural cultures that once existed in India and are fast disapearing.

    However take a Mouna Raagam or a Idhayathai Thirudathey, the characters are easily identifiable by any person, even today in 2012.

    • 50/50 is more poignant and realistic in its portrayal, whereas Geethanjali is a regular commercial affair marked by the brilliance of its maker..

      No comparisions as both movies have a gap of 3 decades which is long and viewpoints change..

  4. i have watched this movie some 100 times. the feel good factor after watching this movie is something… My all time favourite! Everything is just perfect. Thanx for this post. njoyed it as much as i watch this movie.

  5. I watched this film for the first time AFTER I had drooled over Mani sir’s repertoire till Kannathil Muthamittal. And to be honest, I was disappointed and found it to be amongst his weakest works. I felt the writing was a let down and had it not been for Ilayaraja’s songs, it would have been quite a gloomy movie to sit through. In fact, after having many arguments with fans of this film, I even gave it a couple of more chances, but it’s just one of those that didn’t work.

    • Well to a certain extent if compared with other of his classics, this is the least favourite of them all… Thanks for the comment Vijay and looking forward to your Iruvar post.

      • What’s your take on Pagal Nilavu which seems to have some cult fan following in Tamil Cinema… Saw it a week back, but was not so impressed and quite melodramatic which was not there even in his first effort Pallavi Anupallavi neither Unaroo. Idhaya Kovil remains the only one which needs a view from me.

  6. Thanks for the review. Geethanjali or rather Idhayathai Thirudathey has always been one of my most favorite films. To tell the truth, I never knew that Idhayathai Thirudathey was a Telugu dubbed film till’ a few years back. And it was only recently that I watched the original version Geethanjali and grew love it as well… this is despite not knowing even a word in Telugu. And you were right. Though Nagarjuna was the hero, the movie rightfully belonged to the one and only Girija. She was the life of the film…quite literally. She was such a delight to watch and I don’t believe anyone had made such an impact in their debut films as Girija did in hers. Then again,coming from a director who can make even a 3 year old girl to perform fabulously on screen, directing Girija would most definitely have been a cakewalk for him.

    Quote: This movie was remade in Hindi as Yaad Rakhegi Duniya starring Aditya Panscholi & Rukhsar and gives one more evidence of Mani Ratnam’s popularity among filmgoers, as eventually every film after Mouna Ragam has either been dubbed or adapted for National audiences.

    I believe most of Mani’s films were only adapted and not dubbed in Hindi post Mouna Ragam. Roja was the first film that was dubbed I think.

    • Thanks for the read Gayathri and to re-affirm the truth even i don’t know Telugu. 🙂

      On my quote i would say that Anjali was the first film to be dubbed in Hindi followed by Roja & then Thalapthi(Though this released before Roja)… And Bombay remains the last… His Hindi adaptations will be Kasak(Mouna Ragam), Dayavan(Nayagan), Vansh(Agni Natchathiram) and Saathiya(Alai Payuthey).

      Would love to read your comments on the rest of the Mani movie blogs and your opinion about the same.

      • Didn’t know Anjali and Thalapathy were dubbed in Hindi. My bad. Sorry 😦
        Btw, I did watch Kasak and Dayavan in Hindi. Didn’t like both. Everything that I loved in the original version were missing in the remakes. And now I hear that they’re even planning to remake Thalapathy in Hindi. I can’t even begin to imagine how bad an idea that is going to be.

  7. Pingback: Kannathil Muthamittal- An Innocent Journey of a Girl | mad about moviez

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