Language: Telugu Let’s talk about the flashback that appears three times in the script during the first 60 minutes of the film. a boy is bullied by his schoolmates due to the actions of his father. A minute passes, and we see her concerned mother, Madhuri, played by the trustworthy Nadia, walking quickly into a crowd and ripping it apart. she finds her son half-naked and crouched while everyone around her, not only children, but from young people to adults, point at him and shout ‘cheater, cheater’. I can’t reveal more about the story, but I can’t imagine a world where you subject an innocent child to something like this. it’s not just exaggerated. It is cruelty without motivation or reason.
Let’s look at the configuration for a minute. boxing is about as primitive as a sport can get: the bloodshed, the grunts and the pain. therefore, it makes a certain sense to set a film like this near the sea. On the one hand, it is poetic: one forceful thing witnesses another, and it also helps to create visually impressive montages. Pennsylvania. ranjit’s sarpatta parambarai has already shown how to perfectly encapsulate the coastline and its complicated terrain to allow for a man’s physical transformation and skill development. then yes. when the movie switches to vizag i was hoping there was a significant reason. but not. apart from the cursory aerial shot and some scenes in gitam, the film has no interest in the city at all.
This lack of follow-through is evident in every section of the film. Kiran Korrapati probably had a decent idea, but it’s nowhere to be seen. the film is so subscribed that the age of the protagonist keeps changing. he is in his fourth year of engineering—nobody at the university looks under 30, but 15 years ago, he was a 10-year-old—’paathikela kurraadu’, says one character. Is he a bad student? How long have you been engineering it? now to the mother. we are never told how he managed to more than stay afloat. Can a two-story building that looks like a furniture store be affordable for someone who runs a daycare center?
Let’s leave the finer details for now and talk about the characters. Ghani and her mother talk a lot about the pain, but we don’t see them suffer. they reveal their desperation in dialogue and stories they tell other characters. varun tej’s poker face doesn’t help either. We can see the actor’s hard work in the physical transformation of him, but what about the ghani? why would the audience care if a character isn’t ready to be vulnerable on camera? frankly, what reason would they have to?
Technically, the film is also a disappointment. thaman gives average score and bgm is also ineffective. even if george c. the williams camera and marthand k. Venkatesh has a few tricks up his sleeve: the scene near the interval where the mother arrives is very well edited and shot, most of the film is visually inert. even if the boxing matches are well produced and designed, raveendar is the production designer, the games are not exciting to watch. no gibberish, no technical terminology: the ‘kodthe’ song with tamannaah seems to be the only strategy. is tickets an accurate word to use in the context of boxing? the champion played by suniel shetty thinks so.
upendra is fantastic as the boxer with a golden heart. the movie also cleverly misdirects the viewer when it comes to him. it doesn’t make any narrative difference, but it does give the viewer an excuse to come back after intermission. Saiee Manjrekar’s rocky performance improves a bit over time, but the writing never supports it. jagapathi babu has played the same character for so long that he no longer has to do anything. he stands up and the viewer automatically predicts his next move. consistency is a good thing I guess.
kiran korrapati’s ghani is true to its name. it’s a mine, but there’s nothing useful buried inside. the more the viewer digs, the clearer it becomes that the intended treasure is just a hollow grave, where clichés, lazy writing, and bad dialogue go to die. Any moment past is a moment we won’t get back. of course. but when you spend your time doing something nice, those moments come back as memories. Bearing that in mind, I can comfortably say that the time I spent watching ghani is time I’ll never go back; it’s so unremarkable. even a terrible movie will have something to teach, but a movie that never tries anything is a waste of everything.
ghani is currently showing in theaters
sankeertana varma is an engineer who took a few years to realize that bringing two wonderful things together, movies and writing, is as cool as it sounds. he mainly writes about Telugu cinema.