Friday, January 14, 2011

Golconda High School - Releasing Tomorrow

After almost a year, Golconda High School is now ready for release. In true GHS spirit it did not shy away from competing with the biggies - Paramveer Chakra, Mirapakai and Anaganaga oka Dheerudu which released serially this Sankranthi on 12, 13 and 14, January so far. The reviews have been rather pale so far which has nothing to add or take away from GHS. It is the same situation in the story as well - a complete underdog daring to slug it out with the biggies. But not by mere passion - it is guided by good planning, making a good product, believing in itself, giving its 100%. Well all the ingredients are there and I shall elucidate further on this later. But for now, suffice to know that GHS was always a film that believed in itself, that was never short of self belief. The story of the making of GHS itself is a story worth listening to.

Anyway, after getting together a product that was to their satisfaction - the makers of GHS then decided to launch it at Sankranthi at the end of December. Which means that in the span of 12 days the team, ably lead by the indefatigable, wily and alert to opportunity Prasad, put together a publicity campaign and announced the release of the movie, launched the audio and did two premieres at Vizag and Vijayawada. The buzz built around this unconventional story, this small production house, this cricket based, English novel based story. Snatches of the music heard here and there showed great promise (Kalyani Malik excelling himself), the camera work displayed the presence of a master behind that work (Senthil) and the publicity overall did evoke an element of curiosity in the public.

The hoarding at KBR

For me the first time it all hit me really was when I saw the huge poster on the KBR Road of Golconda High School with Sumanth looking on intensely, the 14 kids looking on as if they were being held back and Swati striding purposefully towards a goal. That poster (much credit for that goes for Koni who handled that issue well). But when it saw it that night, it sunk into me. The scale, the project, what was happening.

I was fortunate to attend the two premieres at Vizag and Vijayawada. I will not disclose anything now save for the fact that I enjoyed both shows immensely and liked the movie even better the second time. It happened the same way with Ashta Chamma which got better and better each of the eight times I watched it. I kept marvelling at Mohan's ingenuity as I watched that movie and the same thing happened this time again with GHS. Mohana Krishna Indraganti's biggest strength is that he takes the intelligence of the audience for granted and that is how he gets rewarded. No where does he pander, does he step down, and that pace itself keeps the audience thinking, trying to outguess the director who subtly leaves them feeling stirred. The movie did not leave me for long, it forced me to think, to find out what it was that was bothering me. It did get into a space that I did not know existed - I thought I'd seen everything.

Anyway that's for the viewers to decide which they will in the next few days. But if I were to hazard a guess with my rather simplistic analysis of success - the GHS team has done everything they could to put together a movie that entertains, that probes and intellectually stimulates and prods some action. And when things are done right, with the right intention, the right intensity and the right purpose, they normally go right. Which is what the school kids in 'The Men Within' discover. The path is not easy, but good, honest efforts are always appreciated and more often than not are rewarded. To quote Sampath from the book: 'People do not necessarily appreciate achievements, they appreciate good honest hard efforts.'

And a good, honest, hard effort it is this GHS. Now for tomorrow, the final that we prepared for - first day first show at Prasad's.

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