It’s tough to not recall that Gopichand was an actor who played a dreadful villain and delivered some flawless performances. As for the recent years, we only know him as a hero thrashing the goons and spouting witty one-liners in films like Laukyam and Jil among others. Before watching Gautham Nandam, it would be wise to watch some of his earlier films like Jayam or Varsham.
Ghattamaneni Gowtham (Gopichand) as a billionaire with a heart of gold goes on a road trip in pursuit of who he is. Moments before he hits the road, he was slapped by a bartender and understandably, he was found in a thoughtful and pensive mood. A humiliated person he is, Gowtham takes an extreme step and accidentally bumps into his doppelganger Nanda (Gopichand). The duo agrees to swap their identities as Gowthan wants to experience all emotions of life (pains, pleasure, hunger, and success) and Nanda, a slum dweller who aspires to become rich and faithfully believes that money drives everyone crazy and makes one happy.
The film’s first half moves at a leisurely pace and director Sampath Nandi takes a generous time to establish the lead characters and to get into the actual story. The first song Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a feast as it was loaded with adventure sports and picturesque locations of Dubai. The film also wonderfully captures the sufferings of a poor family leading a hand-to-mouth existence. These episodes apparently go down well with the masses.
The second hour of the film hangs together surprisingly well, thanks to on-point performances. Gopichand in his makeshift role of a greedy slum dweller looks more convincing. And it’s where the film sinks to depths and can be salvaged. Another instance where Gowtham rattles out to his parents that Nanda is exploiting his identity and has a motive behind his every step, the actor strikes a perfect balance between the two roles with ease.
As for performances, Hansika seems wasted to a stereotype and has nothing much to offer. Catherine Tresa ends up as a glamour doll but did a neat job in her dubbing. The track involving Bithiri Sathi, Vennela Kishore and Vidyullekha Raman provides some hearty laughs. Chandra Mohan, Sachin Khedekar and Sita were at their usual best. Mukesh Rishi and Nikitin Dheer stands out with their negative acts.
Thaman’s music is a letdown but refreshingly, his background score is different from his regular fare. The cinematography is enriching and editing could have been crisp.
Gautham Nanda is stylish with a lot of eye candy and isn’t more satisfying than Gopichand’s earlier outings. It’s Sampath Nandi’s sprawling attempt to tell an emotional story trapped between two contrasting roles. Had there been some soul, the film would have been more engaging and entertaining.