One of the most wonderful aspects of life is that, everything is very simple provided you decide to accept it. Until this acceptance of the present moment does not happen, everything looks disoriented and problematic. This law is not for a particular region or a person, but it applies to everybody in the World. I always felt that is precisely the reason why Geethanjali has become a masterpiece– as it deals with the universality of not only Love, but also Life and how to take things in the course of it.
Right on the track, the end of the part 2 of this film post we have seen Geetha explain a great truth about life to Prakash, leading the latter to a sudden yet amazing realization about life. Suddenly things look lighter, cooler and happier. He starts re-discovering his older self and start feeling elated about the beauty of his life- that is the current moment which is in his hands!
When I watched this movie for the first time, I seldom understood what is so pathbreaking in Geetha’s answer to Prakash about Leading Life. In fact, she just tells today is the moment and I am not bothered about tomorrow. It looks very simple and without any complex explanations about why it is so and all. But after watching it so many times, one fine day- Just like Prakash in the film: I happened to realize the eternity in the truth of what Geetha says, Seize the day!
It is wonderful to see such same ideas became the foundations for many films to come (Irrespective of language) such as Bommarillu (The role of Hasini who tries to find happiness in the simple and small things she gets) and Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara ( The role of Laila who believes in doing what she wants to- NOW!) and many more. But, it is Geethanjali which gave the break for such simple yet wonderful ideas about better living.
The viewer hardly realizes that it is the time for Prakash to step into Geetha’s shoes now. Now that he is free of every burden or problem he thought to be, he decides (involuntarily!) to play all the pranks and all the mischief he wanted to do (True to his original self!). He starts following Geetha (in a very pleasing manner- That is the best part of Mani Ratnam’s heros..they do annoy but it leaves a sweet mark!) wherever she goes, and whatever she does- asking her to elope with him. One of the best scenes is where, he calls her to a spot in Ooty and doesn’t arrive in time. The dialogue of Geetha here saying “Lechipodhamanna Monagada Raa Choodham!” (“Hey you..the guy who asked to Elope..dare if you want to come!”) became so popular- partly due to the dare of female lead, along with the style of taking!
Being true to his changed self, Prakash now gets overboard asking her to say “I Love you” at a church and at one moment even asks her (When she is in treatment) to marry him. These scenes are best when seen, rather than elaborate description!
The best part arrives when Prakash calls Geetha and her sister takes the call. It is the time when everybody is having lunch and Geetha coolly asks her sister to find out who it is and what they want from her. Geetha’s sister (A very clever and funny kid!) says aloud that “Evarino premishthunnanu pelli cheskundhamu annavanta..eppudu ela ani aduguthunnaru” ( It seems you told somebody you love him and you want to marry him..he is asking when and how!”). Geetha gets flabbergasted in front of her dad and grandmother and before things could get worse, she runs in a hurry and disconnects the call!
Prakash even makes fool of Geetha in front of her Grandmother making her say some complaints in return. Watch these terrific scenes below!
Geetha gets very irritated with the course of events. Being a strong girl who never got teased by any guy till then, she decides to ask Prakash directly that why he is doing all these things to her. She painfully asks why to make fool of her in front of her family as well. And as she provokes Prakash in demanding an answer.. Prakash simply says “I Love You” leaving Geetha in shock.
The background score speaks on Geetha’s behalf and we see the fog moving towards the two characters in a musical manner. She becomes speechless and could not react because of the sincerity and honesty which she sees in Prakash’s eyes. This scene was extraordinarily handled by Mani Ratnam and special credit to P.C.Sreeram for making it a visual treat!
The visual of fog was made so memorable that even after years of watching, many people instantly remember this scene when the word Geethanjali is uttered!
After thinking in silence and apparently coming to a conclusion, Geetha starts off to meet Prakash at his house. The scene is such that when she opens the door and fog greets Prakash ( He stands turning the other side), he understands its Geetha and turns towards her. The dialogues are not heavily emotional but simple confessions of Love towards each other. The song which comes now is “Om Namaha” – another phenomenal song from Veturi, ILaiyaraaja and singers SPB and Janaki. The song was aesthetically picturized with Prakash and Geetha, and the camera revolves over them throughout. It does not look a bit awkward to see the pair kissing as the song progresses by, but it looks extremely artistic!
Such is the brilliance of Mani Ratnam in establishing the bond between the lead characters in the film!
Another great thing about this song is the rhythm patterns resemble the heart beat of a person. It must be a great significance about either it is a love story or that- this love story in particular is short lived, owing to the fatal condition of both the people involved!
Hence, the great love story between Prakash-Geetha begins in a musically artistic manner!
At one particular scene which follows the song, Geetha asks Prakash to meet her at her place. She says, she is having pain in the heart (There is no crying or emotions involved here at all!) and asks whether she can lie down on his lap. When Geetha asks him whether he likes her, Prakash says yes he does a lot. When Geetha asks him what will he do if she dies, Prakash confidently replies it is today which is important to him, not the future!
The interaction of Prakash with Geetha’s father (who realizes that they are in love) in which the former expresses his wish to marry her soon, and requests Geetha’s father not to reveal about his health condition to her ( Prakash’s father is a cardiologist). The reply which Prakash gets is brilliant in the form of background score, which explains about elation, happiness, sadness and ecstacy- all in just below 20 seconds of runtime!
But we can see a change in Geetha’s mindset right from she accepts love from Prakash. She starts worrying about her future (and her life with Prakash) and starts getting some great philosophical doubts which every person would surely get in their lives! Geetha starts dreading about the moment of dying, and she hopes to live longer happily with Prakash. These thoughts reflect brilliantly when at a late night, Geetha comes to her father and says she is unable to sleep. As her father comforts her in an embrace, she asks in a terrified tone “Nanna..Nenu Endhuku Chavali Nanna..nenem tappu chesanu nanna..naku inkonni rojulu brathakalani undhi..nuvvu naa nannavi kadha..please..” (Dad..why should I die?What is the mistake I did? I want to live some more days..you are my Dad isn’t it?Please do something about this).
This scene reflects the thought process of every unfortunate person who is suffering from fatal illness, in which they have no fault whatsoever- but suffer a lot. Though some religions and people say it is on the account of their past lives deeds, it is really unfair to punish a person of their past life deeds in the present life (Where they don’t even have a memory of what wrong doings they did!). (This is purely my perception of this scene!)
Geetha’s father feels so anguished at his helplessness (Being a doctor as well as a father) and just remains silent in tears for her questions.
The next scene is where Geetha meets Prakash and suddenly falls down in pain. The moment when Prakash starts worrying what happened to her, she says it was just a joke! She light heartedly asks that Prakash was scared she would die. Though we see laughter in Geetha, we can even see the hidden fear she has and great concern for him too. This scene is perhaps my favourite in the film where, Geetha simply pushes Prakash in playful manner and Prakash starts off tickling her so much that both start laughing together. This shows the eternity in their relationship (Though they are short lived individuals) and the great truth that “Living life totally even for few minutes will make it utterly memorable!”.
As this happens, Prakash and Geetha happen to see a cremation going on nearby. The procession starts off and both our protagonists become morose seeing it (Apparently visualizing themselves in that position very soon- which is quite natural and spontaneous!) but it is Geetha who puts words first. She asks Prakash:
“Ye..Endhuku Chavali?Puttaka Chacche Teerala?Naku Chaavu voddhu..Neethone undalani Undhi..Neethone unte naakem kadhu kadha?Ninnu ila gattiga kowgilinchukuni unte..chavu nannu em cheyyaledhu kadhu?Nuvvu nannu neethone undanisthavu kadhu?Nuvvu nannu kaapadthavu kadhu?Nuvvu nannu chavanivvavu kadhu?”
“Why should one die? If one is born is it definite that they should die?I don’t want death..I want to be with you..If I am with you nothing will happen to me isn’t it? If I hug you this way closely, even death cannot come near me isn’t it? Will you allow me to stay with you? Will you save me? Will you not let me die isn’t it?”
Prakash..unable to bear his helplessness and anguish (As he is sailing in the same boat as Geetha is in now- just that he is unable to express himself) just comforts her gently.
This scene is undoubtedly one of the best picturized,visualized, executed scenes in Indian Cinema- as far as Love Stories are concerned!
Watch the scene below from 1:30 to 4:05 for speechless admiration!
Mani Ratnam decides to include a song here (Quite cinematically) but just like the introduction song for this film, the placement is conventional but the picturization is totally unconventional. He narrates the same story of Prakash and Geetha in a different context – where Prakash is a poor guy who is in love with a rich princess (Geetha) and tries to get to her in every way possible. Shot in breathtaking locations of Rajasthan, the song is aesthetically rich as well as musically! The playback singer Chitra rose to prominence in Telugu Cinema with this song and no need to mention how brilliantly SPB sang this too!
The best scene of the song is where, Prakash gets stuck in Quicksand pit and Geetha tries to locate him in the desert. All she can locate him only is through the song he is singing and when she spots him, she throws her dupatta as a rope to Prakash and pulls him from the sandpit (Analogous to the hardships which the character faces in the story).
The song ends with a great visual of hope, with the lead pair going together in sunset ( Which symbolizes the hope factor in the form of a new day of happiness tomorrow!).
Prakash’s mother arrives to see how her son is, and feels quite happy to see him being his former self. She soon realizes that it is because of Geetha he has become like this. She happens to meet Geetha to thank her for what change she brought into Prakash- and shockingly even tells about Prakash’s health condition to Geetha.
Geetha, who is already in a great worry about her health and about her future with Prakash- gets terribly upset with the news. She starts investigating the case sheets herself in her dad’s hospital and soon finds out Prakash is also in the same boat as she is. Without any further ado, she confronts Prakash at a railway station in the backdrop of rain.
She starts off demanding Prakash as why he did not disclose about his health condition to her. When Prakash light heartedly says everybody will die some day or other, she cuts him short saying Prakash is different to her, from rest of the people. She sternly tells him not to meet her again and I don’t want all this Love and all from now. Prakash gets shocked with her reaction and questions her straight
“Chaavu nee daaka vasthe oppukogaluguthunnavu ..kaani naa varaku vasthe oppukolekapothunavu kadhu?”
“When death comes to you , you are okay with it..but when it comes to me..you are not able to accept isn’t it?”
Geetha: Naa Valla Kaledhu…Naa Valla Kaledhu..
“I couldn’t take it..I couldn’t take it”
Prakash questions her straight saying why she is not able to accept his health condition..and then Geetha says a stunner in return:
“Endhukante naa pranam kante nuvvu naaku mukhyam” (She repeats the same line thrice in different tones..which is absolute delight to watch!)
“Because more than my life..you are important to me!”
Watch the scene below:
Saying so, Geetha leaves Prakash in isolation and the viewers in awe!
A very special and respectful mention for dubbing artist Rohini for giving voice to Geetha in this film. She brought literally life to every dialogue Geetha utters in the film- let it be happiness, sadness or anger!
The film reaches the climax scene where Geetha gets terribly ill and gets hospitalized. She gets very angry with Prakash and requests her father not to allow him to see her again. It is more than the anger, it is the fear and concern for Prakash which makes her do so.A beautiful situational song “Oh Papa Lali” arrives now- Where Prakash looks at Geetha in hospital from a distance and unable to go near her to comfort. Watch the same here for better idea about Prakash’s anguish, Geetha’s trouble and musical marvel for the audience in short!
Geetha undergoes a surgery and on a positive note, the surgery gets successful. The film ends with a happier note with Geetha and Prakash re-uniting at railway station ( I wonder with admiration how amazingly Mani Ratnam makes Railway station a crucial location in many of his films!)..
The best part of the film is that – it ends on a hopeful note. It is truthful to the theme- living life to the moment without worrying about the future, despite some disturbances in between.
It gives a ray of hope to the audience saying it is not only about living, but living life to the fullest with each moment given in a day as gift!
It teaches about how eternal love can be..even at the age of Technology and extreme influence of it in our daily lives!
It tells about selflessness and unconditional concern towards people around us and the people we love..
Here is Geethanjali for you..a love story which becomes younger as days pass by!
Marapuraani Chitralu remembers the path breaking love story with all admiration and love for Telugu Cinema! Admiration for Mani Ratnam,P.C.Sreeram, ILaiyaraaja,Veturi and the whole team of Geethanjali has grown Ten-fold for me after writing about this great film!
P.S: If there is any let-back in the film, that is the comedy track (Not discussed in the posts- as it gives break to the narration!)breaking the flow of the movie. I still wonder how Mani Ratnam could include such below par comedy in a masterpiece like this. But owing to the 95% remaining breathtaking marvel, I think such comedy can surely be forgiven!
More Trivia (Afterword): The dresses worn by Geetha in in most of the scenes in this film (Top-and knee length skirts designed in Indian Ethnic style) were so popular during those days that The dress itself got the name “Geethanjali” dress! Most of the girls (Aged 6-30) got these dresses during the film’s release..as if it is some great previlige to wear this style of dresses! Gunnam Gangaraju, a prominent film maker (Just Yellow pictures) used a similar costume for his female lead Sahasra in the critically acclaimed film “Anukokonda Oka Roju” in 2005. Incidentally, the director has so much of love for this film that he shows the Hero Jagapathi Babu’s intro where he watches this film in a cafe…