S Saraswathi feels Gouravam is shallow, it has incompetent script, slow documentary-style narration and weak cast.
Gouravam, produced under the banner of Prakash Raj Productions in association with Vendhar Movies, is a bilingual film that was simultaneously shot in both Tamil and Telugu. Director Radhamohan, who is known for Mozhi, Abhiyum Naanum and Payanam, has once again teamed up with Prakash Raj to direct this film.
Unlike his earlier light-hearted films, this time he takes up a serious subject like honour killings and caste discrimination that is prevalent even now in rural India.
The film has newcomers Sirish (brother of Allu Arjun) and Yami Gautam of Vicky Donor fame in the lead roles, along with Prakash Raj, Nassar, Kumaravel, Sricharan, L B Sri Ram and Anupama Kumar.
The story opens with Arjun (Sirish) at an official meeting in a small town getting approval for his project. On his way back, he comes across a village with a familiar name and upon realising that it is the hometown of his college mate, Shanmugham, he decides to pay him a visit.
From the moment he steps into the village, he realises that something is very wrong. He is unable to understand the angry stares, evasive responses and the rude behaviour of the villagers.
In fact they ask him to leave the village stating that Shanmugham did not live there anymore and no one knew his whereabouts.
Just when he is about to leave, he meets a friendly villager Maasi (Kumaravel), who explains that the villagers are angry because Shanmugham, who belongs to a lower caste has eloped with Rajeshwari, daughter of the rich upper caste landlord Pasupathi (Prakash Raj). Arjun also learns from Maasi that the village was prone to violent caste clashes and this incident only aggravated the matter.
Arjun’s meeting with Shanmugham’s frail and sick father, who is desperate to know if his son is well, moves him deeply. He promises to find his son for him and decides to investigate the matter.
Is Arjun able to unite Shanmugham with his father? Is he able to decipher the lies hidden behind the villager’s vague evasive responses? What actually happened? The rest of the story answers all these questions.
Yazhini (Yami Gautam) plays the local social activist and lawyer who assists Arjun with his investigation. Prakash Raj gives a good performance as Rajeshwari’s grieving yet humiliated father, whose daughter has shamed him. Unfortunately, both Prakash Raj and Nassar, who plays Yazhini’s father, have very brief roles.
Both Sirish and Yami seem to have absolutely no clue about the gravity of the situation or the film. Their facial expressions fail to match the passion and energy required of their characters. Sirish's rigid expressionless face and monotonous voice make all the dialogues sound alike.
The much hyped scenes of the student community taking the initiative and coming together for a social cause also does not seem to make much of an impact.
S S Thaman has composed the music for the film. Though the songs are not very impressive, except for Oru Grammam by Gaana Bala, the background score is a big asset to the movie. Director Radhamohan’s Gouravam seems to be totally lacking in all the elements that we have come to expect and adore from his films.
Though an intense subject, there seems to a total lack of understanding of the seriousness of such a sensitive issue. We hear of so many gruesome incidents taking place in several villages all over India in real life, and that it could not be portrayed in reel life where even ordinary issues are made larger than life is a big surprise.
The screenplay lacks emotional depth and so seems shallow and superficial. The subject did have the potential to showcase so many different emotions, from the pride, arrogance and haughtiness of the upper castes to the humiliation, desperation and pathos of those of the lower caste.
Unfortunately, the shallow incompetent script, the slow paced documentary-style narration and the weak cast together make this film a huge disappointment.