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Godavari: reliving 2d life in 3d

Godavari is one of the first few Telugu movies I watched and I enjoyed it a lot. I think it is one of the best romantic movies. The love is so mutual. Most love stories are one sided. The guy or the girl is perfect (at least in the other person's eyes) and it is this perfection that they fall in love with. So much so that they are afraid to compare their loved ones with the moon, as even the moon is tainted! I think the use of "Shwetambara dhare devi" in the Malayalam movie Thattathin marayathu is the peak. In this film Godavari, neither are perfect. However, they fit each other well. Moreover, there is very little importance for the physical attraction between the two. The love develops slowly. I mean, as slow as possible in a film. And the film ends where their love story begins. So, it is a unique love story.

The setting of the movie is even better. Most of the story happens during a pilgrimage on the Godavari from Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam. And this journey is shown so beautifully. From that time, I had this dream of doing this trip myself. Recently, I had this fortune. Thanks to my friend and host Tulasi Ram Reddy. I had nice Telugu home food at his home. I had the best Pulihora in my life and had Paalataakulu (Paala thaalikalu) for the first time. The boat was not as luxurious as the boat in the film, Kamalini Mukherjee was not on board and neither was the talking dog. But, that was expected. Apart, from that everything else was as beautiful as shown in the film, if not more.

The wide Godavari river with lush green Eastern ghats on both sides is a sight to behold. I had this feeling that the greenery of Kerala is unmatched. But, I do not think so anymore. The Godavari districts are so green, be it the paddy fields or the eastern ghats along the Godavari. I feel people are not aware of this. There is a lot of potential for tourism in Andhra, I feel. And nobody other than Sekhar Kammula seems to have realized this. For those who do not know, Sekhar Kammula is the director of Godavari, Happy days etc. He has really exploited the beauty of Godavari in many of his films.

We can no longer travel from Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam via Godavari, but we can still travel quite a lot. The package we took went from a Polavaram to Papi kondalu and back. It was an 8-hour journey. There was an option to stay at Papi kondalu, but we did not do that. Papi kondalu (Papi hills) looks like a giant wall and the river becomes considerably narrower (but still pretty wide) as we reach there. It looked like those grand river-route entrances to countries we see in Hollywood films or Anime. Perhaps S.S. Rajamouli can use it in Baahubali 3.

I do not have words to describe the beauty of the place. As a cherry on the cake, it also rained. we were extremely lucky. Especially considering the fact that there was a stay on these boat journeys for about a month and it got over only on that day. And, we were not aware of any of these. We were also provided breakfast, lunch and evening snacks. And, all this, including travel and food, costs just 550 rupees.

Apart from Godavari, this trip was an experience of reliving 2d in 3d in other senses too. My exposure to Andhra and Telangana is only through films. I have been to Hyderabad once before for a short visit, again thanks to a friend (Prathamesh), but that is about it. However, there is a strange sense of familiarity when you hear various places, food items etc. As soon as you hear these names you recollect a song or a dialogue from a movie. And, the face lights up in a smile. There is a very deep happiness in it.

I would similarly like to visit various places in Japan like this. At least Akihabara, the Mecca/Vatican for an otaku. Wish that was as easy as this.


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