Gopala Gopala Movie Review

Story: Gopal Rao, a middle-class man who runs a store selling God's idols, is an atheist whose life turns topsy-turvy when an earthquake destroys his store. Soon, he shocks everyone by filing a lawsuit against God to get the compensation from an insurance firm.

Movie Review: A film like Gopala Gopala, which puts logic ahead of one's faith in God, could have been a double edged sword but it has been dealt with an undeniable efficacy to prove the existence of God.

Gopal Rao (Venkatesh), a middle-class man who runs a store selling God's idols, is an atheist and he keeps trying to convince his wife Meenakshi (Shriya Saran) to not blindly follow every ritual in the book to impress the Gods. One day, his life turns topsy-turvy when an earthquake destroys his store and soon, he comes to know that he won't get any money from the insurance firm because it was an act of God that destroyed his store. Then, he shocks everyone by filing a lawsuit against God and the rest of the story is about how he defies all odds, with some help from God himself, and wins the case.

Gopala Gopala begins as a story about an atheist, who seems to offend a lot of people around him, and in the end, the film drives home the point that when you help others, it is as good as worshipping God himself. And in doing so, the film churns out plenty of thought provoking questions which force you to look for answers within yourself and this is perhaps the film's biggest achievement. The entire film turns out to be quite a gratifying experience if you play close attention to the dialogues and conversations between the lead characters, played by Venkatesh and Pawan Kalyan.

Take for instance a scene where Pawan Kalyan, who plays Lord Krishna in the film, talks about the importance of Dharma in the larger scheme of things and how no one can escape it. And he quite effortlessly prods Gopal Rao (Venkatesh) to look closer into the very same principles, which form the undercurrent of religion, sacred texts and faith, to find the answers that will lead him to victory. Soon, Gopal Rao realises, in a more matured way, the true meaning of God. There's a dialogue in the film - "Manishemo Raayini kooda devudini chesthunnadu, kaneesam aa devudu manushlni manishi ga chesthe chaalu (Man sees God even in rocks. And it's more than enough, if the God can turn every man into a more humane person)." This is the underlying theme of the film and the message is reiterated scores of times throughout the film.

Then, there are plenty of scenes which feature Venkatesh taking potshots at how few godmen have commercialised religion and continue to mislead people. While some of the characters of godmen, played by Mithun Chakraborty and Posani Krishna Murali, are reduced to caricatures, both the actors excel in their respective roles. Shriya Saran has a limited, but crucial, role which helps in establishing the story.

All said and done, the film truly belongs to its two lead actors - Pawan Kalyan and Venkatesh. Their camaraderie is palpable and they hold the film together, especially in the second half. Right from the moment Pawan Kalyan zooms into action, the proceedings in the film become livelier and the unusual serenity and gravitas which Pawan Kalyan brings to the table is too hard to miss. Thanks to some top notch writing, Venkatesh nails the emotional sequences and the courtroom scenes are very well staged. Bhaje Bhaje song, featuring both Pawan Kalyan and Venkatesh, is a treat to watch on screen.

The film is a remake of Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar starrer Oh My God and the Telugu version largely stays true to the original version. Kishore Kumar Pardasani, the director, does well in handling the emotional depth of the film without going overboard or offending anyone's faith. Yes, the film does feel a tad too long, but it has enough moments which stay with you long after you finish watching it. And more importantly, it makes you think about life and reminding what our place in the cosmos is

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