Cast: Allu Sirish, Yami Gautam, Prakash Raj
Direction: Radha Mohan
Music: S. Thaman
Ahead of its release, Gouravam had all the marking of a water shed movie. After all, this is the first cinematic attempt to handle the sensitive topic of honour killings in a modern context. Given that the producer is Prakash Raj, the actor who has funded quite a few path breaking films, and that Radhamohan is the director, expectations over Gouravam have been extremely high.
The duo deserves kudos for daring to tacklethe issue of honour killings.
Radhamohan has tried to capitalize on the growing involvement of the youth in real life on such issues. Arjun (Allu Sirish) is on a mission to find out what happened to his engineering class mate Shanmugam who seems to have vanished without a trace from his village T Vennure, after eloping with Rajeshwari, daughter of Pasupathy (Prakahs Raj), an upper caste biggie in the village. Pasupathy and his son tell Arjun that their traditional pride is more important that raking up the dirt of his daughter’s elopement and her current address, but Arjun is determined to solve the mystery.
One section of the village is against the sleuths but Shanmugam’s clan is their sole support in trying to find Shanmugam- even the police is prejudiced against the two. Pasupathy’s son, spoiling for a fight, creates all kinds of problems, seen in many movies before. . Sirish responds by getting all the students from his engineering batch to camp in the village. The electronic media follows, and the entire nation watches on TV as ‘Friends of Shanmugam’ stay true to the mission, despite a petrol bomb attack.
Another bonus for Sirish is Yami Gautham, who plays a lawyer’s role, and is cast as union leader Nassar’s daughter. Finally the mystery is unraveled in a very elementary fashion, without any adrenaline pumping rush, and this where the film is a bit of a let down.
However, the director must be complimented for approaching the matter from the third person, rather than from the angle of one of the lovers or a family member . Perhaps this approach, has led too more of detailing of peripheral characters and less of emotional connect, giving the film a documentary feel.
Prakash Raj as always lives and breathes the character, and it is amazing how many shades of grey he can bring to the table. For a debutant, Sirish passes muster. He is fine in the action scenes, but needs to tone up his facial expressions a bit. Yami does a neat job, as do the others. Thaman’s music is ok, but predictable. In many places in the first half cinematographer Preetha kindles memories of director Bharatirajaa who took us all on a trip to rural Tamil Nadu through his films.
In fact you cannot help but feel this is a Radhamohan who is also a bit of K Balachander, a tad of Bharatirajaa, a little more of the Balaji Sakthivel we saw in Kadhal. And the real Radhamohan, who is so good with his urban perspectives, comes through as a bit blurred.
Through the 1990s Tamil cinema saw the release of a series of movies with caste appendages. Who can forget Chinna Gounder, Thevar Magan, Thevar Veettu Ponnu etc ? The upper -lower dynamics among other median castes have remained an eternal theme in celluloid, but this film has attempted to go a step further and explore honour killing as an evil that needs to be rooted out,. As such it is a must see movie. Only don’t go expecting a Mozhi or an Abhiyum Naanum.