Nanna Gopala

Nanna Gopala

Wake up the child within

A small boy Gopala (Anilkumar) goes to school everyday, just like the other boys and girls in the village. He passes through beck and brush, climbs rocks and trees and has friends among the deer, bears, squirrels and monkeys.

One day while passing through the forest, the boy gets frightened and runs back to his mother, saying he won’t go to school anymore.

His worried mother (Shruthi) hits upon an idea and tells Gopala to call for his elder brother Gopalanna (Obalesh) who lives in the forest, looking after all the cattle. Small Gopala calls out for his elder brother and soon the brother appears—with unforeseen consequences for the mother, the school master, the village headman and others...

Nanna Gopala is based on a play with the same name by poet laureate Kuvempu written during 1930-31. A time when most of what is now known as superstition and evil existed as common practice. Director Lakshman brings all of them into play here, but subtly.

The focus, as Kuvempu intended, is entirely on Gopala and his relationship with his elder brother. The complete faith shown by the boy in his quest for his brother brings back memories of an age unsullied by commercial elements that have supplanted innocence with a know-it-all attitude, for one.

There is class divide and there is sympathy veiled with scorn towards a woman who chooses not to commit Sati, but raise her son by herself. Unlike his previous Masanada Makkalu, which was a searing commentary on societal apathy towards the marginalised, Nanna Gopala is first a celebration of a beautiful period in a  man’s life – a childhood where obedience, curiosity, belief, commitment and dedication with just reward are proportionately blended. Lakshman has assembled an interesting ensemble for this film.

Just like Obalesh who’s graduated to a more ‘adult’ role from his maiden stint in Masanada Makkalu, and Tejaswini his co-star, Nanna Gopala throws up another fine, natural actor in Master Anilkumar who is a delight to watch.

Shruthi’s legendary weeping powers are kept to a bare minimum here. Unlike former minister Motamma who emoted well, D B Chandregowda and De Ja Gow are mere add-ons. Suresh Anagalli doesn’t have much to do.

Ditto Prof Doddarangegowda. Veteran Rajesh lives the part of the Guru - strictly methodical, yet challenging the perceptions of his pupils and their parents with some ‘radical’ ideas for the time.

Music and camerawork add to the pleasure of watching this heartwarming tale. Children’s Day may have come and gone, but the child within can always come out.