The Marathi film Godavari represents a stylistic shift for both director Nikhil Majahan and lead actor Jitendra Joshi. While Mahajan is known for genre fare (Baji, Pune-52, the web series Betaal), Joshi has often played a tough gangster or a police officer in both Hindi and Marathi productions.
Joshi’s ability to tap into volcanic rage and a generalised misanthropic sentiment holds him in good stead in Godavari. Released in cinemas with English subtitles after premiering on the film festival circuit in 2021, Godavari is about the river that runs through Nashik as well as the souls of the city’s residents.
Written by Nikhil Mahajan and Prajakt Deshmukh, Godavari seeks a middle ground between the experiences of a middle-class family living in the heart of Nashik and esoteric beliefs about faith, redemption and closure. Nishikant (Joshi) is a rent collector, his hair-trigger temper and cigarettes accompanying him as he pays unwelcome visits to his tenants.
Kaasav (Priyadarshan Jadhav) is his only friend, Nishikant having ceased communication with his father Nilkanth (Sanjay Mone) and grown apart from his wife Gautami (Gauri Nalawade). Nishikant’s mother Bhagirathi (Neena Kulkarni) and daughter Sarita (Saniya Bhandare) are his only reliable links with his family.
Death and decay surround Nishikant – his ancestral home is on the banks of the Godavari, where the…