“Getting lost will help you find yourself”
Having watched the much-talked Godhi Banna Sadharna Mykattu, the movie struck a deep chord. It stood out for its treatment of a simple missing-and-found person story with an interesting angle of an Alzheimer patient getting lost and finding himself amidst killer-gangsters. The plot had many poignant and meaningful Lost and Found nuances by Lost and Found Films that I thought I will spend some time writing down my impressions.
When I started reviewing the movie here, there were so many aspects of the movie that stood out that I thought it best to use separate sections to appreciate the movie.
Shiva (Rakshith Shetty) is an IT professional bent upon climbing the corporate ladder, traveling to New York is the carrot his boss keeps dangling. He has grown apathetic to his father, whom he calls “Anna.” With his mother (Triveni Chindodi) dead eight years earlier to cancer he has left his aging father Venkoba Rao (Ananth Nag) who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease at an NGO which ‘offers the best facilities for Alzheimer’s patients.’ Shiva has become the typical workoholic IT guy whose target is now to move to the U.S. During one of his rare visits to his father at the NGO, he loses his father who wanders off into the city. The father hitchhikes and ends up with two gangsters, Ranga (Vashista N. Simha) and Manja (Ravikiran Rajendran), who are transporting the dead body of a Corporation engineer in a truck, while Shiva starts to search for his father. Dr. Sahana (Sruthi Hariharan) who works at the NGO and who has grown close to Venkob Rao joins Shiva to search for him intensely. As they search for the missing Venkoba Rao, Sahana reveals to Shiva the various sides of his father’s personality which Shiva was unaware of or had never bothered to learn about. As Shiva gradually learns, his perception of his father as ‘just ordinary’ transforms into respect, and to regret that he never treated his father well.
Meanwhile, Ranga and Manja along with Venkoba Rao end up at the house of a small-time contractor Kumar (Achyuth Rao) and holds Kumar’s family and Venkoba Rao hostage. Ranga tries to negotiate with his boss who insists that Ranga kill everyone to cover up the murder of the corporation engineer. Ranga who has never killed anyone though has been a part of criminal activities, hesitates to ‘taint his hand with blood.’
What follows is suspense filled scenes of Ranga plotting a way to kill the killer (a policeman on roll call of the gangster boss) sent by the gangster boss and Shiva going on wild goose chase based on false calls in search of his father. Ranga succeeds in his plan, tragically losing his own life. Manja who realizes that his own girl friend is the reason for the gangster boss to trace them and thus the end of his Ranga whom he called anna (brother). He gives a burning funeral to Ranga, walks into his girlfriend ‘s place, kills her and the boss, and then kills himself.
Now that the gangsters are dead, Kumar tries to abandon Venkoba Rao but brings him back to his family. In due course, Kumar sees the “Missing” poster and unites Shiva with his father.
Godhi Banna, Sadharana Maikattu is the story of father and son drifting apart. As the mother even in her death bed notes ‘if Sachin stops playing, you both would have nothing to talk about.’ In his blind surge ahead in search of position and money, Shiva has developed a contempt for his father, considering him useless, ineffective, and unproductive. His father is ‘so ordinary.’ Shiva is attempting to build a life for himself in contrary to everything he detests in his father, almost obsessively trying not to ‘be ordinary.’
Shiva is on a fast track in pursuit of career and monetary success. An individual on fast track can see only that in front of him, he is simply impervious to everything in the sides. Symptoms of modern IT life mockingly stand out. Going to malls for shopping is the way to satisfy your family’s needs, going abroad is a symbol of success, etc.. His apathy is unraveled as he is constantly swiping his Blackberry. Here too Shiva is not insensitive at his core but has become so deeply desensitized in his blind pursuit of achievement that he comes across as insensitive towards people around him. ‘It is not my father who has losing his memory for a disease but I who has forgotten who I am.’
Godhi Banna Saadharana Maikattu is a story of search of a missing person – lost connections, forgotten the very memories that have made them, lost humaneness. It is rediscovery of self, what matters the most – familial connections or material gains, rediscovery of simple pleasures like sketching over the rat race. Money cannot find something lost. Search and rediscovery of one’s self and what is the utmost important thing life – family. The nuances of normal people in general – the urge to earn a lot at any cost, the search for ‘my life’ without realizing that life is about human connections. Reminds all ‘ordinary’ people that their lives are in no way ordinary, but one can easily find that extra in their ordinary lives to feel happy and peaceful with their lives?
Alzheimer ‘s main characteristic forgetfulness plays a recurring theme through the movie. Alzheimer’s patients need a constant conversation to keep them recalling their memory. Story-telling is one of the ameliorative methods used in treating their medical condition. Whenever Dr. Sahana is talking to Venkoba Rao keeps prompting him with words that are relevant to him. The relevance of words is based on the emotional value of that word in his life. Interestingly, she does the same to jog Shiva’s memory to revive his emotional connection with his parents by story-telling. She tells him his parent’s romance and brings him to his childhood treasures. We all suffer from a kind of Alzheimer’s in one way or the other and need those prompts from life to remember what means the most to us, don’t we?
The actors fit into their respective characters so well and at ease. Each of them etches a personality not easy to forget. Ananth Nag reiterates the veteran he is in emoting. His portrayal of an Alzheimer patient is spell binding. The moment when Kumar is abandons him by the road side is one tell-all example. Anant Nag’s plethora of emotions – bewilderment, anxiety, and finally, surrender, helpless acceptance, is simply mind blowing and touches you deeply.
Rakshit Shetty once again demonstrates his astute characterization delineating an work-obsessed IT guy to the T. Going to the US is his life’s goal. His apathy to his aging and ailing father is accentuated as he realizes that his father is missing and he has to go searching for him but compulsively keeps swiping his Blackberry.
Vashista’s role of gangster Ranga is plausible. The character grows through the movie which discovers it’s humaneness and learns to discern the good from the bad. Vashista’s baritone voice lingers long time after Ranga is dead in his efforts to save innocent lives.
Manja lives out his T-shirt message ‘20% of the boys have brain and the rest of them have girl friend’ perfect to the T. Despite his obsession with his dancer-girl friend, his innovative ideas to find ways of reviving dead mobiles, and almost thick-headed reluctance to understand the danger of gangster life he is living, he redeems at the end with his loyalty and humanity.
Sruthi Hariharan stands out in her role as a doctor concerned with her patient’s well-being. Her empathetic nature is what connects her to her patients as well as to the rude Shiva who is impervious to his father’s disappearance. Her attempts to re-sensitize Shiva towards his father as well as help him reconnect himself to his roots and memories, and thus to his father is touching. Her very empathy adds a humane touch to the movie.
Achyuth Rao who stands for all ordinary people, so very easily emotes a small time merchant who is willing to help people in trouble but can become nervous when facing danger. His reactions are but the common reactions from any ordinary, normal person out there.
Tiny, poignant moments add finesse to the narrative – father’s constant encouragement to paint, scribble, and sketch ‘don’t limit your painting to the canvas’, the story of father’s romance, and at the end even as Shiva tries to tell his father that he has learnt his lessons and has reformed. Despite his inability to react, the soothing touch of his father indicates that he understands though he does not know what. He simply understands.
The narrative structure is non-linear, but felt at times not very smooth. As the plot required, the nonlinear narrative structure adds drama and suspense to the story which would otherwise have been a simple missing/kidnap/hostage story ending with a positive note. But at times, juggling between the time-lapse and the two drama scenarios, the hostage situation and the search scenes get a bit entangled with the flashback scenes. Is it a slightly gone awry “fractured tandem narrative?” Only experts can say. Despite those slightly jarring (almost imperceptible) notes, it is a very well done movie of the search and finding oneself by the Lost and Found Productions. A must watch!