Review | An academic tribute to a river called Godavari

Narrated in a soulful manner, Godari' is a simple story of a river

Post-‘The Elephant Whisperers’, there is a newfound excitement regarding documentaries in our country. More and more interesting subjects are today being dealt with in a documentary rather than the more conventional feature film format.

Next in the series, we have ‘Godari’, which is aha’s first original documentary.
As the name suggests, the documentary traces the entire journey of the second-largest river in India after the mighty Ganga. It makes the viewer traverse its full course till it empties into the Bay of Bengal.

Just like Ganga, even Godavari is a revered river, worshipped by millions and millions of devotees.

The documentary begins with the place of origin of the river. Expectedly, we hear the melodious sound of water and we are told about how the river originated in the Brahmagiri hills in Maharashtra.

The story proceeds as per the flow of the river and we are introduced to a cross-section of people who are directly or indirectly dependent on the river for their livelihood. Be it the palanquin bearers, the fishermen, or the farmers of Maharashtra, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh they all narrate how they are indebted to this river.

Conceptualised and directed by Swati Diwakar, ‘Godari’, has its heart and intent in the right place. There is a very sincere attempt to profile a river that for centuries has left this place enriched. As generally is the trend with river documentaries there are quite a few beautiful aerial shots and visuals of rich flora and fauna.

Narration by Dr Anasuya Ravikant in Telugu is easy on the ears. However, the writing by Swathi, Sriram Abhi, and Ramana Kontikarla is academic at the best.

This documentary, available with English subtitles, is best for students who need to know the basics of the river. The narrative fails to build any meaningful and mature story as such. While it does tell us about the big engineering projects and dams being built on the river, everything here stays basic.

It just doesn’t rise above the basics.

For instance, against the backdrop of rivers being worshipped overwhelmingly in India, comes a dichotomy that still they are not the cleanest water bodies. The around-hour-long documentary does make a passing reference to issues like this and moves on to its next stop.

Narrated in a soulful manner, ‘Godari’ is a simple story of a river. It is informative but not engaging enough for those who already know this information. It’s a beginner-level visual diary. It’s flowing on aha.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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