Geetha: Film Review – A Period Romantic Tale Set in the Backdrop of Gokak Agitation

Verdict: Geetha is an insightful watch with emotional and social lessons to take back home.

Golden Star Ganesh starrer Geetha is directed by debutant Vijay Naagendra and is supported by a strong cast including Prayaga Martin, Shanvi Srivastav, Sudharani, Parvathy Raj, and Devaraj. The film is produced by Shilpa Ganesh and Syed Salaam and the music is directed by Anup Rubens.

What’s Geetha about:

Geetha begins with the protagonist Akash’s (Ganesh) take on love and how he does not buy into the concept of love anymore because of his parents’ failed marriage. However, he finds a good confidante in Priya (Shanvi Srivastav). Priya attempts to bring his parents back together, but it backfires. Agitated and disappointed, Akash confronts his father, Shankar (Devaraj) and then we are at once taken to Shankar’s youth (played by Ganesh) in the 1980s where he was an active part of the Gokak protests. This is where the film purely focuses on Gokak protests and how people in Karnataka fought against the fading importance of their mother tongue, Kannada. Quite ironically, Ganesh falls for a non-Kannadiga girl in his college, Geethanjali (Parvathy Raj) and has to be separated from her because of the socio-political conditions. The film then comes back to the present day where Ganesh moves to Kolkata for a job and meet Geetha (Prayaga Martin) who is a strong and level headed woman who works for an NGO. The budding love story of Akash and Geetha form the rest of the plot.

What Works:

Geetha discusses some very fundamental and burning issues like preserving the language and how your mother tongue gives you a strong sense of identity and empowerment. Using Gokak protests as a reference was a smart move to shed some light on this issue. The film probes you to think about how we take our roots and identity for granted and do not notice how regional culture and traditions are slowly dying.

Ganesh is definitely the guiding light of the film. He holds both the past and present together, same goes with Shaanvi in her dual roles. Prayaga Martin’s character is another highlight of the film. Geetha is a woman who calls of her wedding when her fiancé fat shames her and asks her to give up her job in the NGO and start fitness programs. Geetha is unapologetic about who she is and sticks to her ground beliefs and ideas. She is the ideal, modern young woman with ambitions and decides her own path. She has strong belief in love and is unwilling to settle for anything less. Akash and Geetha’s love story is so organic and seamless and it is a beautiful chemistry you get to see on screen.

What doesn’t work:

While the Gokak protest is a remarkable add-on to the plot, it really does not stitch into the fabric of the overall plot. Though period films have its own perks as it adds different layers and perspectives to the plot, it comes with a price of extended screen time. A lot of time is spent on setting contexts as the film switches time frames.

Why you should watch:

Geetha has multiple messages to offer apart from pure entertainment. It talks about why you should be brave and take chances in love, how wrong decisions cost us a lifetime of distress, and the need to fight for what you love – whether it is the woman you love, your homeland, or your mother tongue. It is difficult to categorize Geetha into a particular genre as the film discusses multiple concepts, and it makes the film a vividly thoughtful and an entertaining experience.

Anjali Menon: