{mosimage}I was in my 7th Std., when "Geetanjali" or Idhayathai Thirudathey (in Tamil) was released. The phrase "Odi polaamaa...?" was a craze then all over Tamil Nadu, so did "Laichi pothama...?" in Andhra after release of this movie. I watched it on video (Pirated VHS tapes were in vogue then) and didn't find anything interesting except watching that 3 minute long kiss scene secretly. I asked what a rubbish movie, except hero & heroine are shouting at each other. But as the years passed by the sensitiveness & discerning quality imbibed by aging, when happened to see "Geetanjali" on a Valentine's Day, telecast in ETV, found it eternally romantic. Nagarjuna became my romantic icon forever.

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It is about Nagarjuna, a cancer patient counting his days, comes to Ooty far from his parents unable to see the sorrow in their eyes. He happens to meet Girija, who is also in a similar condition, and falls in love with her. Girija responds in a positive manner without knowing that Nagarjuna too is counting his days. Love kindles the Girija's passion to live long. When she finds out that Nagarjuna too is like her, she asks him to move away from her life so that she can have a hope that he is living somewhere in the world. Understanding her feelings, Nagarjuna decides to leave Ooty.

{mosimage}Maniratnam showed that cinema is a visual medium that relies a lot in executing the scenes conceived in the paper. "Geetanjali" was an excellent example for this. Lack of much of knowledge in Telugu didn't deter in developing a liking to the movie because Maniratnam had shot it in a visual language that conveys every mood effectively. Iliayaraja's music doesn't need any language to fall in love with. The story was wafer thin and relied only on incidents & visuals. There was romance... romance only all over the screen. Every raindrop & fog was exploited to convey the love between the lead pair. The biggest risk the movie underwent was had it failed to impart that romantic quality over its audience, it would have flopped miserably. After years, I read in an interview that K.V Raghavendra Rao, ace Telugu director commented on the preview that Geetanjali would be either a super-hit or wash-out, nothing in between. Fortunately it went on to become a super-hit not only in Telugu, but in Tamil & Malayalam also.

The movie is replete with so much of love infusing the divine feeling of romance throughout. I would say that this is the most romantic movie that Maniratnam had ever made. May be Maniratnam was single at that time, he would have felt that romantic feeling while making Geetanjali, that is spilled all over the celluloid. After that Maniratnam couldn't recreate that romance in any of his movies, except a few excerpts in "Alaipayuthey...", where Shalini excelled the passionate scenes with debutante Madhavan.

{mosimage}Nagarjuna... I remember getting hysterical by seeing his moony eyes that oozes sizzling romantica. He was perfect for the part of naughty Akash, whose eyes are always with a slight hint of the sadness. He was absolutely natural in the romantic scenes that form as the soul of the movie, thus salvaging the wafer thin story. Even the cottony soft way he speaks in the movie was amazing. At the end of the day, this movie made Nagarjuna my all time favourite & romantic icon. He is my definition of an ultimate man, dark, tall, suave, sultry & I would have been disappointed if a man of this stature is not embroiled in gossips of affairs & one night stands, with not sparing even the beauty queens.

Girija... This NRI Telugu girl was wonderful in the author-backed role of a girl enjoying her final days. She had all the best qualities needed for that role, glamour, cherubic and docile. She was equally innocent in the liar scenes, sensuous in the long kiss scene and wonderful when she asks her father why she should die. This girl had a subtlety in her approach that was unlikely "Golttu". I had seen her in Priyadarshan's "Vandhanam" in Malayalam after this.

I am really sorry for Maniratnam's heroines who give ultimate performances that linger in the minds of moviegoers, but get lost after that one performance. Girija joined the leagacy that was continued by Madhubala (Roja), Shalini (Alaipayuthey..) & latest by Meera Jasmine (Ayutha Ezhutthu).

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I could go on writing reams and reams about the technical aspects of the movie as Maniratnam is best a technician. The magic he spelled on the viewers along with PC Sreeram is still mesmerizing the audiences no matter of what age. PC Sreeram had showed Ooty like a dreamland and he had set the trend of shooting in semi-darkness, that almost every filmmaker followed in late 80's. Coming to "Geetanjali" I would say the movie wouldn't have become a cult classic without PC. Since the story was mostly moved in visuals, there needed a warm camaraderie between the cinematographer & the director to bring the concept executed on screen. P.C Sreeram, the "Lens-Guru" had shot to fame on national level with this movie. The use of wide-angle lenses to capture the serenity of Ooty & soft lenses to present lead players like a dream was a basic lesson to me in photography. He is the one who taught me how fog & mist will enhance the shot.

{mosimage}Illayaraja... He is my demi-God when it comes to music. All the songs of Geetanjali are still sounding mint fresh even after years. I couldn't imagine "Geetanjali" without Iliayaraja's music. As said already, the movie was made with lesser dialogues, thus relying on visuals and music alone. PC Sreeram had lent his support on visuals while IIlayaraja breathed in the soul for this romantic movie. The background score was fantastic, with the sign of Iliayaraja - string of violins. In fact I believe that the rerecording alone can be released as a separate album. All the playback singers for this movie - SPB, Chitra & Mano were in their finest forms. My top favourites are "Aathadi ammadi...", "O! Priya! Priya..." & sensuous "Om Namaha...", sentimental "Oh! Papa Lali...", while other numbers like "Kaaviyam paada vaa..", "Vidiya Vidiya..." & "Kaattukkulle Paattu Sollum.." are equally favourite ones.

{mosimage}On the whole, this is a timeless creation from Maniratnam that looks fresh still. Fresh in the sense, you can't categorize this movie representing 80's in looks & style. It looks contemporary even today. I am sure that this movie would have rekindled the sweet memories of that time. It is worth. a watch. I want to show it to my small cousins to take it further to next generation of movie watchers.

Do you know why I suddenly remembered this movie? This time when I was in India, I watched this movie in the bus during traveling to Salem. I rediscovered this movie, how did I forget it to add to my VCD library? Unfortunately I hadn't got this VCD still.

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About myself
Author: MaheshwaranWebsite:
I am a SAP Consultant in my late 30s, residing in the happeing IT City - Bangalore. My interests vary from reading to travelling to handicrafts to photography. My latest interest is on Body building. May be this vivid interest keeps me going in my life without getting bored.