In the flash of a moment, the world changes colours from white to black. This is the dark unplumbed world of espionage brought to the screen many times with various degrees of success.For once, Goodachari gets it right.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a truly satisfying and complete spy film where all the loose ends tied up effortlessly at the end. Like a box used to gift-wrap a present that has too many protrusions spy films in India tend to be all over the place.Here, there is fluency and virility to the narrative that is neither borrowed not strained.
Original and provocative, Goodachari is that rare espionage drama where all the incidents and characters remain true to character, even when they are exposed to be leading double lives. There is a vibrant fulsome ring to the narration (no doubt aggrandized by the harmonized background score by Shricharan Pakala and the constantly probing yet non-judgmental cinematography by Shaneil Deo) as though the director is so sure of his characters that he allows them to act out of character without the risk of courting illogicality.
Moving stealthily and surely at least a few steps ahead of the audience, the narrative never lets the momentum flag. Goodachari keeps us on tenterhooks. The first movement of the plot builds up to a steamy yet solid midpoint eruption when our hero Arjun (Adivi Shesh, in his element) is caught in a crisis that challenges not only his identity but also the very raison d’etre of Intelligence organizations where the line demarcating the dared from the forbidden is as thin as the boundary between the living and the dead. The post-midpoint moment is a cat-and-mouse chase shot like a jungle safari where the hunter and the hunted become bonded by a mutual death wish.
Not a moment is frittered in the kind of skittishness that is so much part of Telugu cinema. No comic relief, thank God, and certainly a plethora of cosmic disbelief as layer after layer of subterfuge is laid bare by a narrative that knows no respite. Standing tall over the remarkably hectic plot is leading man Adivi Shesh. Sinewy and dexterous he makes the protagonist’s search for his identity a far greater voyage than the personal. Adivi handles the action scenes adroitly and deftly, not allowing the physical heroics to overpower the inherent drama of the rapidly-mutating plot.
This was a theme seen in Adivi Shesh’s earlier blockbuster Kshanam, which though an action-drama, never fell prey to self-congratulation. Goodachari knows it’s on a to a good thing. Rather than pat its back it taps and milks the action-espionage genre for all its worth.
I for one, can’t wait for Goodchari to come back to screen. He is no Ethan Hunt. But that doesn’t make his mission any less impossible.