There are two ways that a movie dealing with social problem can go wrong. One, it can become aimless rhetoric that preaches audience or it will be a shallow half baked product that never conveys the point it intended too. Surprisingly, Radha Mohan's Gouvravam falls in to the second category.
Gouvravam is a story of Arjun (Allu Sirish) who comes in search of his friend Shanmugam to a small village. The villagers claim that he hasn't come back after he eloped with Pasupathy's (Prakash Raj) daughter. Shanmugam's father requests Arjun to find his son and Arjun along with his friend tries to find the truth amidst strong opposition from Pasupathy's son and his caste group. Arjun gets help from Yazhini (Yami Gautam), a lawyer who is also school classmate of Pasupathy's daughter and Maasi (Elango Kumaravel), who is from Shanmugam's caste. How Arjun finds the truth and whether Shanmugam came back is told in a languid manner.
Gouvravam starts with an absolutely interesting premise but where it falters is the lack of depth in execution. The authenticity of the story goes for a toss when a fictional village is chosen and the castes are not mentioned even symbolically. Although the director and producer would have taken this route in order to safeguard the movie from unnecessary backlash from those castes, it does hamper the impact a movie that deals with honour (dishonour!) killings could have produced. As the story is about a pair that has eloped, the movie over the course of time becomes a individual's problem rather a societal issue. The dire caste differences and honour killings are not dealt deeply enough to create an impact in the minds of audience. Except for a few scenes, the caste differences take a back seat.
Gouvravam also suffers from predictability. The characters are so stark that you can predict the whole story 20 min in to the movie. The only interest being how the whole thing happened. But I did like the way it was revealed (I don't want to spoil one of the few interesting parts). And also the student activists part looks contrived and forced in to the story. Having said that there are some heartwarming performances like the one of Elango Kumaravel. Radha Mohan steadfastly keeps away from unwanted songs, unnecessary comedy scenes and even the love between Arjun and Yazhini is handled with subtlety. The usual trademark dialogues of Radha Mohan sparkles at places and also his quips on Tamil movie stereotypes too. Preetha's cinematography is interesting especially in the last stunt sequence. Although Mannadacha Bandhu song (Gaana Bala) is wonderful, Thaman has to improve a lot in his background score.
Gouvravam could have been a movie that could have given a widespread attention to caste based honour killings in the state but lack of depth and slippery screenplay makes it less impactful. One of the biggest strengths of Radha Mohan is the control he has in his movies but what you would see is a forgettable fare from an able director.
A 2/5 for Radha Mohan's Gouvravam and definitely not his best.