The subject of innocence and romance requires a certain dose of boldness to be portrayed on screen, especially in Sandalwood, since there are only a few movies that have crossed the limit to project the feelings in a natural manner. Given an A certificate by the censor board, Roopa Rao’s romantic tale, Gantumoote, does cross the conventional barriers, and kisses and cuddles become an innocent part of the story, never becoming vulgar.
But the whole message of this well-crafted movie is that innocence among the youngsters in love is not about finding themselves, but about creating themselves, even under varied pressing circumstances.
The story is set in the ‘90s and told as flashback by Meera (Teju Belawadi), a film buff since childhood. Since her parents are a working couple, it is cinema that keeps her spirits alive.
Growing up, she becomes a big fan of Salman Khan, after watching the actor’s film, Hum Aap Ke Hai Koun, and even keep writing letters to him, hoping to become the mother of his child! She sees Salman in her classmate, Madhusudhan (Nishchith Korodi).
The eyes meet, and they fall in love, engaging in their first kiss, first hug, and that first touch. This turns difficult in Madhusudan’s life, who is distracted from his education. A fatal incident follows and jolts Meera’s life. The film follows the journey of a heartbroken Meera to heal herself.
The subject is universal, and director Roopa has kept the innocence of love as natural as it can be. Wearing multiple hats as the writer, director, and producer, she takes up the challenge of putting across believable situations in the journey of a 16-year-old girl. This is a topic that youngsters generally find difficult to discuss with their parents, and is also relevant for them to know what their children of that age are going through.
Teju, actor Prakash Belawadi’s daughter, has kept her performance natural, capturing the emotions of innocence and love. Nischith Korodi too delivers a mature performance in his youthful act.
The two pull off the romance portions. Casting by Roopa is worth mentioning, with every actor being apt to their age. The school atmosphere is beautifully captured by Sahadev Kelavadi, and showcases a believable picture of academic pressure, love, emotions, friendship, and bullying.
Fresh melodies and background score by Aparajith Sris add to the experience. The high school romance does justice to the film’s tag line —bag age — and comes with its own sets of emotions and nostalgia, which take the audience to the good old days.
Cast: Teju Belawadi and Nishchith Korodi