If you miss the titles of Gopalam, chances are you will never again be able to know who the unfortunate actors are who are cast in the movie. Like an empty carton that is flung out into the sea and will be washed ashore in a small heap of discolored litter, Gopalam is thankfully lost forever to civilization. You won't find a mention of it on the Internet, the newspapers or anywhere else.
Except in the whacko theater that is playing it in Hyderabad this week, and with the reviewer who, erm... decided to forget reviewing and become a bus conductor.
The movie tries simultaneously to straddle humor and tragically stupid maudlinness, and lands with a loud thump in a painfully awkward vertical split, and you know it deserved it every bit. Gopalam (Chandra Mohan) is a middle-aged man who is miserly to the point of disconnecting his calling bell to save Rs. 6 a year. He has two sons, and a dead wife who he lovingly converses with every night.
His son is chasing a girl and manages to win her affection, and they get engaged, too. But things suddenly take a weird turn when Gopalam starts going around with a stunner who has recently joined his office, and is half his age.
The movie that started off with gentle, family humor, gets grosser and grosser now at a frightening pace. Gopalam, who goes around wearing khadi and sporting an old umbrella, suddenly transforms into Quick Gun Murugan and starts taking the girl around on a newly acquired bike. He suddenly starts splurging money like crazy, and everybody is disgusted.
The movie has some yecchy scenes of the potbellied Gopalam with his withering skin and wig, getting cozy with the rather delectable looking and unknown actress who plays his colleague. Although there is nothing explicit, it is as repulsive as a third-grade porn flick. That's one of the achievements of Gopalam, the movie. Through simple scenes of people talking, it can inspire incredible disgust in you. It's like sliding down an incline into a pool full of slithering reptiles.
The second half of the movie, which is when you start realizing that Gopalam is the HERO, is where his family discovers he is dying of Leukemia, and therefore the sudden madness. After this, it's like the movie reaches another height on the roller coaster, and pauses, only so it can resume its deterioration with renewed vigor.
The fall from grace continues until we hear the resounding splash of the lowest point: the ending. It's like it drives you six feet underground and pats the mud on your head before stopping. The ending has Gopalam climbing a high hill, spitting blood and dying; while his family reads his will where he has left his money for the building of a hospital, a school and a library.
Gopalam disappoints, hurts and pounds your sensibilities, and seems to have been made by a rather depressed and disconnected soul - some alien being watching mankind with clinical eyes and drawing its own conclusion on what movies should be about. The movie is so broken and incoherent compared to regular 'human' movies, and so completely unheard of, it's more like a garbled nightmare - an extra-terrestrial visitation, an assault on your consciousness by malignant beings.
All in all, a rather hopeless movie and a pain to be put through. To avoid being experimented on by the spooky creators of this one, avoid Usha Mayuri like the plague this week.