follow me: Pooja Gandhi and Vijay Raghavendra.

The renovated cinema hall bears a new name and looks roomy and clean. Ditto ‘Gokula’, Prakash’s offering after ‘Vamshi’. It has room for action, sentiment and humour while appearing clean, at first.

Prakash provides engaging fare, with superb support from M S Ramesh in the first half. Inspirations and influences do not matter mainly due to the dialogues, which are crisp and mercifully, not overdone.

The story moves on smoothly and it is to the director’s credit that it appears credible. The situations are neither contrived nor melodramatic, except perhaps the climax, which drags a bit, but is saved by Ramesh’s dialogues again. His casting is also spot on. A restrained Vijay makes minimum use of his mannerisms, allowing others, particularly Yash, to upstage him. Pavan Kumar and Raghuraj provide perfect foil, one restraining himself and the other, earnest. Pooja Gandhi could have done without flaunting her body - her hair and warm smile do the job for her. Nakshatra makes a confident debut, but is let down by the length and incomplete characterisation of her role.

Srinivasamurthy and Sumithra as the couple yearning for their dead son lend that touch of dignity that is slowly vanishing from the screens today. Manomurthy and Satya Hegde complement each other. ‘Gokula’ makes subtle use of motifs - Mathura orphanage to the bungalow Gokula.

The theme of filial love, in that sense, has been given mature treatment. Likewise, the costume design deserves mention for being meticulous and not spoiling the continuity of each character.

Choreography is good too - Ragini is stylish, not giving enough reason to support the ‘item number’ controversy. Time to head to Gokula now.