"Nenapirali" Prem started his career with back-to-back hits like Nenapirali and Jothe Jotheyali, which established him as one of the dependable stars of the Kannada film industry. He made a promise to his fans that he would not act in remakes but after a string of flops, he broke his promise.
His latest is Gauththam, a remake of Suresh Krissna's Tamil and Telugu film Aahaa (released in 1997) where Nenapirali Prem is now Prem Kumar. The original had an age old story line but appealed because of its neat handling of the story and good performances.
To be fair to the film's director Rajeev Prasad, who has switched over to films after directing television serials, Gauththam does have some good points. The film maintains a fair degree of intensity in the emotional sequences, particularly in the second half. And the characterisations of the rich industrialist and the cook are authentic.
As in the original Tamil film, the performance of all the artists is really good. Music director Guru Kiran has composed some very good songs -- Yaara Magalu Ivalu, Kaabul Drakshiye and Ammo Amm.
However the film's weak link is the way it drags in the second half, though it gets racier only towards the end. Rajeev Prasad however has not been able to extract a good performance from the heroine.
The story goes like this. Parashuramaiah, a rich business magnate is the head of a happy family. Parashuramaiah treats Gauththam, his second son as a good for nothing fellow in the family. The first son Raghu is happily married and is very supportive of his father.
Gauththam loves Janaki, daughter of Ramarao, a cook who is addicted to gambling. Parashuramaiah humiliates Ramarao when he comes up with the marriage proposal. Meanwhile, Gauththam has to solve a serious family problem. How Gauththam solves this forms the remaining part of the story.
Prem Kumar struggles hard to convey the right emotions in the second half. Malayali actress Sara is found wanting. Gauththam also marks the return of "Kokila" Mohan (Mike Mohan in Tamil films) and Kausalya to Kannada film industry, who have well in their respective roles. Notable performances from Sudharani, Anant Nag, Ramesh Bhat, Vinaya Prakash and Shivaram are another plus point of the film.
Technical value of the film too is top class.
Despite its dragging moments and predictable story line, Gauththam is a neat family entertainer.