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Gopala Gopala (2015 film)

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Gopala Gopala
Gopala Gopala poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKishore Kumar Pardasani
Produced byDaggubati Suresh Babu
Sharrath Marar
Screenplay byKishore Kumar Pardasani
Bhoopathy Raja
Deepak Raj
Story byUmesh Shukla
Bhavesh Mandalia
StarringPawan Kalyan
Venkatesh
Shriya Saran
Mithun Chakraborty
Music byAnoop Rubens
CinematographyJayanan Vincent
Edited byGautham Raju
Production
company
Suresh Productions
North Star Entertainment
Distributed byBlueSky Cinemas Inc.
(United States)[1]
Release date
  • 10 January 2015 (2015-01-10)
[2]
Running time
153 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTelugu
Budget12 crore (120 million)[3]
Box officeest. 88 crore (880 million)[4]

Gopala Gopala is an Indian 2015 Telugu devotional satirical drama film directed by Kishore Kumar Pardasani. The film was jointly produced by Daggubati Suresh Babu and Sharrath Marar under the Suresh Productions and North Star Entertainment banners. It features Pawan Kalyan and Venkatesh in the lead roles and Shriya Saran, Mithun Chakraborty and Posani Krishna Murali in supporting roles. Anoop Rubens composed the music while Jayanan Vincent was the film's cinematographer.

The film is a remake of the 2012 Hindi film OMG – Oh My God! which was itself based on the Gujarati stage play Kanji Viruddh Kanji and on the 2001 film The Man Who Sued God. It follows the story of an atheist, Gopala Rao, who sues God after losing his shop in an earthquake. Religious organisations revolt against him and Bhaghvan Vishnu visits him as his human guide, under his incarnation Krishna.

Gopala Gopala was made with a budget of 120 million. Production began on 9 June 2014. It was predominantly shot in and around Vishakhapatnam, with a few sections filmed in Hyderabad and Varanasi. The film was released worldwide on 10 January 2015 as a Sankranthi release. It received positive reviews from critics and grossed 660 million, with a distributor share of 411 million.

Plot[edit]

Kanneganti Gopala Rao is an atheist who owns a shop selling Hindu idols alongside his wife Meenakshi and son Moksha as well as his assistant Otthu. He obstructs a holy ritual involving his family, conducted by Siddheswar Maharaj, a fake godman. A sudden earthquake destroys his shop.

Rao approaches his insurance company who deny him assistance, claiming that an earthquake is an act of God. Rao decides to sue God but cannot find a lawyer willing to take the case on. He eventually engages Akbar Bhai, a disabled lawyer, who helps him file the case. Legal notices are sent to the insurance company as well as to Siddheshwar the priest and others from his group, as representatives of God. The court accepts the case, but Rao finds himself trapped among armed fundamentalists, with a creditor Ramji occupying the house and his wife having left him.

Rao is rescued by Gopala Govinda Hari, a consultant, who is revealed to the audience to be the deity Vishnu, under his incarnation Krishna in disguise. Gopala buys Rao's house from Ramji but allows Rao to stay with him. The lawsuit caused a public outcry, so on Gopala's advice, Rao gives an interview to the media about his views, which turns viral; public opinion swings in his favour. Hundreds of people whose insurance claims were rejected due to an Act of God clause turn up at Akbar's house and join the fight. Rao agrees to fight on behalf of all of them.

In the next court session, defending lawyer Shankar Narayana points out that Rao has no document that can prove the disaster was an Act of God. The judge orders Rao to present a written proof that will support his claim. Gopala gives Rao the Bhagavad Gita, Bible and Quran in which to find the answers. Rao subsequently points out a passage saying that "This world is a creation of God, and it is his will to allow it to grow or destroy", which strengthens his case. As he nears the end of his argument, he is stabbed by a staunch follower of Leeladhara.

Rao is rushed to the hospital where he slips into a coma due to heavy blood loss. Leeladhara then plans to make Rao a messenger of God and elevate him to a divine figure across the country after killing him. The lawsuit's verdict goes in Rao's favour and religious organisations are ordered by the court to pay the compensation to all the plaintiffs. After a month, Rao is rescued by Gopala, who later reveals his identity as Lord Vishnu by showing his Vishwaroopam. Rao starts to believe in the existence of God. Meanwhile, Leeladhara, Gopika Matha, and Siddheshwar open a temple dedicated to Rao and accumulate millions in donations. Rao learns that his death is planned for Vijayadashami which coincides with the death of Shirdi Sai Baba. He escapes with Gopala but is attacked by the priests' henchmen. Gopala manages to show them his 4th incarnation Lord Narasimha in place of Rao, scaring them off.

Rao arrives to find his statues erected at the place where his shop once stood. He wades through the stunned crowd and breaks the statue, then admonishes the crowd about trusting in godmen. He advises them to search for God inside themselves rather than worshipping statues. Rao prevents the crowd from attacking the priests, asking for them to be allowed to leave unharmed but also insisting that they stop believing in them. After the completion of Ramlila, Rao goes back to Gopala to thank him, only to find him gone.

Rao's family arrive and they are reunited. He sees Gopala's key chain on the floor. When he is about to take it back, he hears Gopala's voice telling him to get rid of it. He throws it away, seeing it disappear into the sky with a flash as Gopala "signs off", promising him they will meet again.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In early April 2013, the Paruchuri Brothers informed the media that they were in the final stages of acquiring the remake rights of Umesh Shukla's OMG – Oh My God! (2012) and that work on the script would begin afterwards. It was also said that Ravi Teja would play the role of Krishna in this film, originally played by Akshay Kumar, and that the official confirmation of the film would come within a week.[5] OMG – Oh My God! itself was an adaptation of the Gujarati play Kanji Viruddh Kanji.[6] Daggubati Suresh Babu acquired the remake rights in mid November 2013 and Daggubati Venkatesh was confirmed to be a part of the film's principal cast.[7] Kishore Kumar Pardasani was selected to direct the film.[8]

After much speculation, Suresh Babu confirmed to the media in mid-February 2014 that Pawan Kalyan would play the role of Krishna and Sharrath Marar would be co-producing the film with North Star Entertainment.[9] After considering the titles Deva Devam Bhaje and Gopala Gopala,[10][11] the latter was finalised just before its formal launch on 9 June 2014 at Hyderabad.[12] Anoop Rubens was confirmed to replace Sohail Sen as the music director. Jayanan Vincent was selected to handle the cinematography, despite reports stating that P. C. Sreeram would be doing the job.[13]

Casting[edit]

Principal cast of the film from left to right : Pawan Kalyan, Venkatesh and Mithun Chakraborty

Venkatesh and Rajendra Prasad were initially reported to reprise the roles of Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal from the original. Venkatesh was later confirmed as playing Paresh Rawal and Vikram was approached for the role of Krishna.[14] Pawan Kalyan was engaged for the same part later on.[9] Venkatesh personally researched and purchased his outfits., incorporating a number of differently-coloured short kurtas into his costume. He ended up with more than 40 changes onscreen.[15]

Kalyan underwent a special diet and exercise to lose weight for the role in the film.[16] Kishore Kumar said that Kalyan would be seen for 25 minutes, as in the original,[17] but this was later extended to 45 minutes.[18] Kalyan was slightly overweight before signing the film and followed a crash diet comprising milk and fruit, avoiding carbohydrates and oily foods.[19] Reports stated that he would use a Hyosung GV650 Aquila Pro in the film.[20] Later his team met Akshay Warde, who had designed a special Vardenchi motorcycle for Akshay Kumar in the original. Warde completed designing a new motorcycle within a month, albeit without a support team like he had had when making the original film.[21]

After considering Nayantara,[22] Anjali,[23] and Radhika Apte for the female lead,[24] Shriya Saran was finalised for the role in early May 2014 after Nayantara walked out of the project citing scheduling and payment issues.[25][26] She called her role a "beautifully etched" and an "inspiring" one. Saran added that the relationship between her and Venkatesh in the film would encapsulate the central debate of the existence of God.[27] Mithun Chakraborthy was signed to repeat his role from the original in early June 2014, thereby making his Telugu debut.[28] Posani Krishna Murali, Krishnudu, Raghu Babu, and Vennela Kishore were selected to play other important roles in the film.[29] Madhu Shalini was selected to play the role of a journalist.[30] It was originally unclear whose role she was remaking from the original when she was engaged on the film.[31] Diksha Panth was selected to play the role that Poonam Jhawer performed in the original.[32] Anisha Ambrose made a cameo appearance.[33]

Filming[edit]

In early May 2014, the film's co-producer Sharrath Marar, in an interview with IANS, said that the regular shooting was planned to begin on 19 May 2014 after Pawan Kalyan was relieved from his political duties, also saying that the makers were aiming for a September 2014 release.[34] However, it emerged that the film would be officially launched on 2 June 2014 and shooting would be done in a specially erected set in Hyderabad.[35] Principal photography eventually commenced a week later on 9 June 2014 at Ramanaidu Studios at Nanakramguda in Hyderabad.[36] Venkatesh joined the shoot in the same day.[37] Pawan Kalyan allotted 25 days for the shooting of his scenes in the film.[38]

Ramoji Film City, where parts of the film were shot.

The film's second schedule started on 18 July 2014 at Hyderabad after a brief break while Venkatesh was promoting his film Drushyam. Pawan Kalyan was reported as joining the shoot on 23 July 2014 and a special sequence in which he would be seen driving his personal motorcycle was planned to be shot. His part in the film's dialogue was expected to be completed.[39] However, Kalyan joined the sets two days in advance and scenes featuring him and Venkatesh were shot.[40] The film's shoot continued in the outskirts of Hyderabad where scenes with Venkatesh. Kalyan and Shriya Saran were shot.[41] The film's shoot continued in late August 2014 at Nanakramguda.[42] The exteriors of Osmania University's College for Women in Koti, Hyderabad were used to shoot a court scene. Producer Daggubati Suresh Babu said that the college had a look which suited the scene.[43]

Filming went ahead in Ramoji Film City.[44] Kalyan shot his introductory song in late September 2014.[45] The filming was almost complete and in the middle of October 2014, the film's climax was shot in the outskirts of Hyderabad.[46] An additional song with Venkatesh and Kalyan was also planned.[47] At the end of October 2014, earthquake scenes were shot with Venkatesh and others at Ramoji Film City.[48] Filming then continued in Nanakramguda. By then, three-quarters of the film's shoot was complete and Kalyan was reported as having completed shooting for his part during the subsequent weeks.[49] Shooting for two songs and graphics work remained to be completed.[50] By mid-November 2014, the film's shoot neared completion.[51]

Venkatesh and Shriya joined the film's sets in Vishakhapatnam where a song and a few more scenes were shot.[52] On completion, the production team revealed that the schedule was shot in the city to boost morale at Ramanaidu Studios and also demonstrate to the Bengali and Oriya film industries that shoots could be carried out smoothly even after the destruction of the city by Cyclone Hudhud.[53] The film continued to be shot near Varanasi in early December 2014, with Venkatesh and other actors taking part.[54] A song with Venkatesh and Kalyan was shot in the outskirts of Hyderabad around the end of December.[55] The final schedule began the next day and Kalyan's crucial scenes were planned.[56]

Themes and influences[edit]

The film is an official remake of the 2012 Hindi film OMG – Oh My God! directed by Umesh Shukla which tells the story of an atheist who sues God for causing an earthquake in which he loses his shop. The film focuses mostly on exploiting people's faith in the name of business and money-making.[57] Daggubati Venkatesh said in an interview to The Hindu that this film would focus on the tensions between Indian rituals and spirituality. In the film, the deity involved, Krishna, teaches the atheist protagonist to use the principles of the Bhagavad Gita, Bible and Quran to win his case. A song introducing the atheist's character, his family and his views on rituals was added in which was not a part of the original.[58]

Several new scenes were included in the Telugu version, including two songs.[59] The film also deals with the issue of fake godmen. Daggubati Venkatesh said in an interview with Suresh Kavirayani of the Deccan Chronicle, "We all know about these people. Media also publishes stories about them all the time. We wanted to create some awareness among the people, so we touched on the theme of fake godmen. But there are genuine people too, who give wonderful messages and enlighten people with their preaching".[60] The lyrics of the song Enduko Enduko question the superstitions people believe in.[57]

Dialogues written for and uttered by Kalyan's character in the film were linked to the politics of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Comments such as "Nenu time ki Raavadam Kaadu Tammudu, Nenu Vachake time avutondi" ("I don't come on time; time starts when I come")[a] and "Samardhulu Intlo undipothe Asamardhulu Rajyamelutaru" ("The unskilled will rule if the skilled stay at home")[a] appeared to refer to the change in government and Kalyan's own entry into politics.[61]

Music[edit]

Anoop Rubens was signed in on to compose the film's soundtrack and score in June 2014. Before the official launch of the film, Rubens completed composing a song and was said by the makers to complete composing all the songs in a week's time from the launch.[62] The soundtrack consisted of 4 songs whose lyrics were penned by Chandrabose, Sirivennela Sitaramasastri and Anantha Sreeram.[63] Lahari Music acquired the soundtrack's marketing rights in mid August 2014.[64] The soundtrack was released on 4 January 2015,[65] and achieved high chart rankings.[66]

Release[edit]

The film was planned for release in either September or October 2014, but a January 2015 Sankranthi release was announced in July 2014.[67] Gemini TV acquired the film's television broadcast rights in early December 2014.[68] Suresh Babu sold the rights for an amount of 200 million (US$2.8 million) as a three film package including Drushyam and Bhimavaram Bullodu, both co-produced by him.[69] The release date was confirmed as 9 January 2015.[70] United States theatrical rights were acquired by BlueSky Cinemas Inc.[1] The Central Board of Film Certification passed the film with a clean 'U' certificate and the release date was postponed to 10 January 2015.[71] Because of the demand for the film's tickets, 20 more theatres were added to the original list.[72]

The film was released in 1400 screens (1200 theatres) worldwide; 1100 theatres in India, out of which 850 theatres were in the AP/Nizam region, more than 100 theatres in United States and 50 theatres in the rest of the world.[73] A charity performance was held at Shiva Parvathi theatre in Kukatpally, Hyderabad on 10 January 2015 at 2:30 AM.[74] Photos featuring fans celebrating the film's release were widely circulated on Twitter.[75]

Marketing[edit]

The film's poster was unveiled on 28 November 2014,[76] designed by Anil and Bhanu of AB Core Design.[54] It began trending on social networking sites within few hours and became a worldwide trending topic.[77] Anoop Rubens received acclaim for his background score in the poster.[78] Another poster featuring Kalyan and Venkatesh on a motorcycle was unveiled on 16 December 2014.[79] The theatrical trailer was unveiled on 4 December 2014 at the audio launch event.[80] It began trending instantly on YouTube and within two days, it reached the first position in India's Top Trending videos on YouTube displacing Yennai Arindhaal... from first place with a view count of nearly 0.5 million.[81]

Legal Issues[edit]

Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi submitted an appeal to the regional director of Central Board of Film Certification on 31 December 2014 claiming that the film had objectionable scenes which hurt the religious sentiments of Hindu people. In a statement to IANS, they said that they had sought action before the release of the movie as any protest later would be futile.[82] In an interview with Suhas Yellapuntala of The New Indian Express, Venkatesh said "It’s natural for certain people to react and they are free to express their views but once they see the film they won’t look at it that way. In case, there are any unfortunate incidents, we will convince them and it’ll be fine. Because whatever the scriptures tell, that’s what I tell in the film".[83]

Raghunadha Rao filed a similar case against the film at Saifabad police station on 10 January 2015.[84] Telangana lawyers lodged a complaint with the law minister A. Indrakaran Reddy on 16 January 2015 and requested him to take immediate steps to delete objectionable scenes from the film.[85] The division bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P. V. Sanjay Kumar of the Hyderabad High Court pointed out that it could not grant any order without making the producer and director of the film a party to the case. Raghunadha Rao then was permitted to file a fresh petition seeking a ban on the screening of the film.[86]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Both Pawan Kalyan (left) and Venkatesh (right) won critical acclaim for their performances.

The film received positive reviews from critics as well as audience according to International Business Times India.[87] Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu wrote "To a large extent, Gopala Gopala stays true to the essence of OMG – Oh My God! and it’s heart-warming to see a Telugu film backed by big stars taking up the idea of spirituality versus superstitious beliefs".[88] Veena N. of Oneindia Entertainment rated the film 4 out of 5 and stated "Even though its a remake movie, Gopala Gopala is a must watch as it is a hilarious entertainer. Watch it for Power Star and Venkatesh".[89] Karthik Keramalu of IBN Live rated the film 3.5 out of 5 and wrote "Like the recently-released Hindi film PK, Gopala Gopala too challenges blind faith. Watching the two actors light up the screen, who, for many years have starred in successful remakes, is a nostalgic tribute. Pawan Kalyan with a charming smile confesses that dharma supports rightfulness; however, in no manner, does it mean to curb the will to criticize religion and its beliefs".[90]

Hemanth Kumar of The Times of India rated the film 3.5 out of 5 and wrote "Gopala Gopala begins as a story about an atheist, who seems to offend a lot of people around him, and in the end, the film drives home the point that when you help others, it is as good as worshiping God himself. And in doing so, the film churns out plenty of thought provoking questions which force you to look for answers within yourself and this is perhaps the film's biggest achievement. The entire film turns out to be quite a gratifying experience if you play close attention to the dialogues and conversations between the lead characters, played by Venkatesh and Pawan Kalyan".[91] Suresh Kavirayani of the Deccan Chronicle rated the film 3.5 out of 5 and wrote "In the second half, the film drags a bit, especially the swamijis’ scenes. The climax is also a bit boring. But, if you haven’t seen the original Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar starrer OMG — Oh My God!, then you must watch Gopala Gopala. Pawan Kalyan fans will love the film and it’s a treat for them with two big stars sharing screen space".[92]

In contrast, IANS rated the film 2.5 out of 5 and wrote "It would've been nice if the core plot was retained and changes were made to the film and its characters. But you can't watch Gopala Gopala with such expectations because it successfully reproduces scenes and characters from the original as though remaking is misunderstood as copying frame-to-frame. One way it's commendable that the makers didn't try to make many changes since the remake features popular stars such as Daggubati and Pawan, who usually play to the gallery. But all this has been done at the cost of creativity and that's what makes the remake less exciting, if not boring."[93]

Box office[edit]

The film earned a share of around 91.9 million on the opening day and emerged as the fourth highest opener of all time in the AP/Nizam areas. It stood in the fourth spot in the list of top ten opening day shares at the AP/Nizam box office behind Attarintiki Daredi (2013), Aagadu (2014) and Baadshah (2013).[94] The film collected $0.6 million in two days at USA box office and was expected to cross the $1 million mark soon.[95] The film collected a share of 40 million on its second day, taking its two-day AP/Nizam box office total to 135 million. With the inclusion of takings from Karnataka, Rest of India and overseas markets, the two-day worldwide box office collection was valued at 195 million.[96] The film's trade witnessed a huge drop on its third day by collecting nearly 20 million at AP/Nizam Box office. But it topped the weekend box office followed by Tevar and Raghuvaran B. Tech.[97]

It also stood in the top spot at Chennai box office followed by PK and Kappal.[97] The film also took good openings in the United States where it collected 43.7 million in the weekend of 9–11 January 2015.[97] The film collected 170 million in the first five days at AP/Nizam box office and 265 million at the worldwide box office. With this, it surpassed the opening weekend figures of Aagadu at AP/Nizam box office, but failed to surpass its worldwide three-day collections.[98] The film collected a worldwide share of 298.5 million in six days surpassing the first week collections of Naayak (2013) and Ramayya Vasthavayya (2013). The six-day AP/Nizam area share was 230.8 million with which it surpassed the first week AP/Nizam share of Businessman (2012).[99] According to The Times of India, the film collected huge shares and headed towards record collections overseas, expected to cross 300 million mark.[100]

The film collected 261.5 million at AP/Nizam box office and nearly 330 million at the worldwide box office in seven days and surpassed the first week collection of Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (2013) at AP/Nizam box office and Baadshah, Gabbar Singh (2012) at the worldwide box office.[101] The film collected a gross of 590 million and a share of 379 million in nine days at the worldwide box office thus surpassing the lifetime collections of Pokiri (2006) and took the 18th spot in the list of all-time top 25 Telugu films with highest worldwide share.[102] The film also created a new record in Mandapeta in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh by collecting 2.08 million in nine days, breaking the record set by Magadheera (2009) in its lifetime run.[102] The film witnessed a drop in its collections at AP/Nizam box office and earned around 310 million share in ten days. However the film crossed 400 million mark at the worldwide box office overtaking the totals of Businessman and Robo, the Telugu dubbed version of Enthiran (2010).[103] Due to stiff competition from I, Pataas and Temper, the film collected a gross of 880 million and a distributor share of 411 million at the worldwide box office during its lifetime run. The film passed the 500 million gross mark and collected 335 million in its lifetime at the AP/Nizam box office alone.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Ceremony Category Nominee Result Reference(s)
IIFA Utsavam 2015 Best Performance In Lead Role — Male Pawan Kalyan Nominated [104]
Best Music Direction Anoop Rubens Nominated
Best Playback Singer — Male Haricharan and Dhananjay (for "Bhaje Bhaje") Nominated

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b These dialogues are translated from Telugu to English.

References[edit]

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