Gangs of Godavari review: A gangster drama that never realises its full potential

While Vishwak Sen steals the limelight effortlessly, Anjali gets a meaty part and delivers a memorable performance.

ByHaricharan Pudipeddi

Published:May 31, 2024

Krishna Chaitanya's directorial Gangs of Godavari

Gangs of Godavari (Telugu)

31-05-2024, Action-Crime Drama, 2 hours 26 minutes U/A
  • Main Cast:Vishwak Sen, Neha Sshetty, Anjali, and Nassar
  • Director:Krishna Chaitanya
  • Producer:Suryadevara Naga Vamsi and Sai Soujanya
  • Music Director:Yuvan Shankar Raja
  • Cinematography:Anith Madhadi



Crime and politics make for a great recipe for a masterpiece. Director Krishna Chaitanya’s Gangs of Godavari—his most ambitious film thus far—is an attempt you genuinely want to appreciate, but not before complaining about how hollow it is in its writing.

In a recent media interaction, producer Naga Vamsi compared Gangs of Godavari with Dhanush’s 2018 Tamil film Vada Chennai and assured that the former will be in the same genre and league as the latter.

Unfortunately, it pales in comparison with Vetrimaaran’s directorial (a modern-day epic gangster drama). But it doesn’t take away the fact that here’s a film that stands on its merit.


Yuvan Shankar Raja composed the music for the film

Yuvan Shankar Raja composed the music for the film. (X)

Gangster films are most often about the hero’s rise to power, against all odds, and Gangs of Godavari is no different.

Vishwak Sen plays Ratna, a thug in the 1980s, and the story follows the events as he takes a political plunge (earning the wrath of local politicians) and becomes an MLA in no time.

We witness his transformation from Lanka Ratnakar to Tiger Ratnakar.

As the story follows the transition of Ratna, blinded by his thirst for power, the film presents quite a few familiar sub-plots that do add not much value to the larger picture.

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Mileu, setting & Viskwak Sen are show-stealers

For a film about crime-politics, the story needed better world-building and tension which were completely missing.

What sets Gangs of Godavari apart from other Telugu films in similar spaces is the milieu and setting. There’s more to Godavari than meets the eye.

Anjali plays a key role in Gangs of Godavari

Anjali plays a key role in ‘Gangs of Godavari’. (X)

Unlike most Telugu films that have explored politics and power dynamics against the backdrop of places like Rayalaseema and Telangana, here’s a film that showcases Godavari in a different light altogether. This attempt to use Godavari as a backdrop to narrate a story about power politics is praiseworthy, despite its glaring flaws.

Apart from the setting, it’s the visuals that hold the film together.

As far as the performances go, Vishwak Sen steals the limelight effortlessly, and it isn’t an exaggeration to call it one of his finest performances. He nails the Godavari accent, which elevates the character and makes it instantly likeable.

Anjali gets a meaty part after a long time. Given her repertoire, she rises to the occasion and delivers a memorable performance.

Krishna Chaitanya does full justice to the backdrop but his writing feels lacklustre, never taking the conflicts between the characters too deep.

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Everything is dealt with on the surface level. If only the writing was strong and complemented the visuals like it should have, this would’ve been a superior film. Also, for a film titled Gangs of Godavari, we don’t get to see any gangs, weirdly!

(Views expressed here are personal.)