Geethanjali (1989)

 ●  Telugu ● 2 hrs 30 mins

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Evocative and eloquent, this melodiously musical romantic drama revolves around a playful college student, who finds out that he has a terminal illness. Deciding to escape the harsh reality, he leaves for Ooty, where he comes into contact with a wild and vivacious young woman who teaches him the value of living every moment of life to the fullest. The young man decides to forget about his sorrows and soon finds himself falling in love with is his adventurous girlfriend. How will she react when she finds out about his illness? How will their unique love story unfold?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Girija Shettar, Nagarjuna Akkineni

Crew: Mani Ratnam (Director), PC Sreeram (Director of Photography), Ilaiyaraaja (Music Director)

Rating: U/A (India)

Genres: Musical, Romance, Drama

Release Dates: 10 May 1989 (India)

Telugu Name: గీతాంజలి

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Did you know? The song "O Paapaa Laali" was shot in five days. Read More
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Movie Connection(s):
Dubbed into: Ithayathai Thirudaathey (Tamil)
Filming Locations:
In the song Om Namaha, that was done in a single long shot (YouTube/online versions do not show this in a single shot as in the original release), you can see a fly in the latter part of the song (right shoulder of the hero).
As of 2014, this is the only Telugu film of Mani Ratnam's career.

Augmented by its soul-stirring music, this movie became the biggest success of the year, and is now widely considered to be a cult classic.

Director Mani Ratnam shot the film in the misty valleys of Ooty to give it a soft, poetic atmosphere. Filming would start early in the dawn, around 5 AM, and wrap up by about 11 AM, in order to capture the scenes in a dreamy atmosphere; the cast and crew had to arrive on location one hour before filming. In addition, an ice machine was brought from Madras to provide any additional mist if the shot didn't look romantic enough.

In 1989, an 11-year old Delhi girl named Geethanjali was suffering from terminal cancer and wrote her thoughts and emotions in a diary, which was published around that time. Mani Ratnam was moved when he read the diary, and named his film, and the title heroine, after the little girl.

London-born Girija Shettar was a guest at Mani Ratnam's marriage to Suhasini, and was selected for the title role. She took two months to prepare for the role under associate director 'Gadiraju Keshava Rao'.

Owing to its tremendous success, the movie was dubbed in Malayalam under the same title, Tamil under the title 'Idhayathai Thirudathe', and also remade in Hindi as 'Yaad Rakhegi Duniya', starring Aditya Pancholi, Rukhsar and Vikram Gokhale.

The dance chorographer Sundaram, who's better known as the father of Prabhudheva and Raju Sundaram, has a cameo as the old man in the song "Jallanta Kavvinta Kaavaalil."

The film was shot in 60 days.

The final scene in the film was made at the request of the president of Nagarjuna Akkineni's fan club. He was not happy with a tragic climax, saying "No one would be happy if their hero dies and the heroine also dies! At least, say something like they lived happily, until they die..." The scene was changed in accordance with this request.

The song "Jagada Jagada Jagadam" was shot in Polvaram Race Course, with the use of 40 cars.

The song "Jallanta Kavvinta Kaavaalil" was shot with 40 children and 25 horses.

The song "Nandikonda Vaagulona" was shot in seven days, on a 7-lakh cemetery set specially constructed for the song.

The song "O Paapaa Laali" was shot in five days.

The song "O Priya" was shot in one week in Jaisalmer, with the use of 100 camels.

The song "Om Namaah Naarayana Shrutulaku" was completed in one take, using a trolley.

This movie was a phenomenal success both commercially and critically, winning several awards including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, and seven Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards.

This movie was dubbed in Tamil under the title 'Idhayathai Thirudathe'. The film was later dubbed in Malayalam and unofficially remade in Hindi as 'Yaad Rakhegi Duniya' starring Aditya Pancholi, Rukhsar and Vikram Gokhale.

This movie was not only tremendously successful commercially, but also went on to win many awards and accolades, including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and seven Nandi Awards.

This movie, along with Siva (1989) are credited with catapulting Nagarjuna's career and transforming him into the heartthrob of millions of young women almost overnight.