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Film / Gowri Ganesha

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Gowri Ganesha is a Carnatic language Black Comedy made in 1991, starring Ananth Nag. The movie follows Lambodhar, a small time hustler and Con Artist who, in the course of perpetrating a malingering based con in a hospital, stumbles upon the corpse of a young woman named Gowri. Upon finding out that she was an orphan (just like him), then finding her diary in which she kept a sordid account of all the people who used her and drove her to die penniless in a government run hospital, Lambodhar resolves to avenge her. Not by inflicting violence, but by perpetrating a long distance Long Con, that nets him a lot of wealth.

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Finally, though, all three of Lambodhar's marks figure out they've been had. They go to confront him. If he can wiggle out of this, it forms a plot for the movie's ending.

Tropes found are

  • The Atoner: Madhusudhan agrees to Ganesha's upkeep because he sees that as making up for the fact that he raped Gowri. In actuality, he raped Gowri's drunk friend, not Gowri.
  • Child by Rape: What Madhusudhan believes the kid named Ganesha to be. He actually isn't. He is just some kid in an orphanage, that Lambodhar has hired to enact a Long Con.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Lambodhar never engages in cons for the big score, not until he discovers Gowri's corpse. The hustles he pulls seem small time, but all he is trying to do is get by. He swindled the camera out of the store, but was actually doing a decent job as a photojournalist. He hustles some money out of his neighbors to shop for them, but his deal making ability leads one to believe that he would be a successful legitimate trader. One gets the sense that if someone actually gave him a real job, his people skills, head for business and ability to spot opportunity would take him very far. Which is proven to be true, once he swindles sufficient funds out of the three marks. He doesn't just waste that money living opulently, he invests it to open his own clothing store, which is doing quite well. Lambodhar devotes his full time to running the store, and gives up the small time hustling.
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  • Didn't Think This Through: Some of the more spectacular schemes Lambodhar pulls up fall apart because he never thought about covering his tracks. His "photojournalist" con falls apart because the original guy who was supposedto pick up the camera from the store only left town on a short trip and eventually came back. His malingering con to finagle free food and a bed to sleep in, from a government hospital falls apart because doctors can detect a guy only complaining of phantom pains with no underlying cause note , and his Long Con falls apart when all three marks show up at the same time to see the kid Ganesha. And two of those marks even know each other.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: A drunk Madhusudhan stumbles into the wedding suite at the hotel where his friend Chandramouli is faking getting married. He thinks he has stumbled into his own room. He sees a woman sprawled on the bed, unconscious with some buttons on her dress undone. Doesn't stop him from collapsing next to her and having his way with her.
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  • Ethical Slut / Lady Drunk: Gowri's friend Chanchala is not above getting shitfaced, or indulging in a little no strings attached roll in the hay now and then. She even agrees to take Gowri's place in a forced tryst with Anand Rao, so Gowri doesn't suffer career harm, but won't have to have sex with him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Lambodhar never uses any physical violence on anyone. He also will not take advantage of women sexually. When he gets enough money to afford a comfortable house to live in, and start a legitimate business, he marries Sarasu the nurse who's had the hots for him.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Lambodhar.
  • Heir Club for Men: What Anand Rao uses to justify his womanizing.
  • I Want Grandkids: Chandramouli's parents.
  • Jerkass: Chandramouli's parents. They threaten to completely cut him off financially and fire him from the family business, unless he gets married. Even after showing them Gowri's picture, and arranging for an elaborate wedding reception so enough anecdotal evidence of his "wedding" exists, they guilt trip him into coming to Amritsar Punjab, by pretending to be victimized by a terrorist attack. Turns out, the terrorists actually targeted that airliner, making Chandramouli their actual victim.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lambodhar's landlord keeps harassing him for rent payments. However, this is exactly how a landlord is supposed to act, when a tenant routinely stiffs him on rent and comes up with a lame excuse every time.
  • Little Con Artist: Lambodhar uses neighborhood children for multiple cons. He uses Ganesha, an orphan, to further the long con he is pulling on Anand Rao, Madhusudhan and Chandramouli's parents.
  • Long Con: Lambodhar pulls one on Anand Rao the US based import export executive, Madhusushan the Kolkotta based chemical industrialist and Chandramouli's parents. He tricks them all into providing financial support to raise Gowri's nonexistent son Ganesha.
  • The Mark: The import export businessman, Anand Rao, the chemical industrialist Madhusudhan and the businessman Chandramouli's Punjab based parents are all targeted.
  • Mis-blamed: In-universe: Anand Rao, the dog of a boss who tries to force Gowri to sleep with him upon penalty of termination and blacklisting from the corporate world, never actually slept with Gowri. Her friend Chanchala, who is an Ethical Slut, agreed to stand in for her that night. Similarly, Madhusudhan never raped Gowri. After Chandramouli's parents force him to take an overnight flight to Punjab, Gowri just leaves the fancy hotel where the wedding reception is being held. Her friend Chanchala gets drunk and is sleeping it off in the wedding suite booked for Gowri. A drunk Madhusudhan stumbles in there and rapes Chanchala.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Lambodhar previously never tried to cheat anyone off large sums of money, opting instead to only run small scale hustles. He targets the three marks for a long con, as a means of getting back at them for how they mistreated Gowri.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Madhusudhan had raped an unconscious woman on Gowri and Chandramouli's pretend wedding night. He thinks Ganesha is conceived off that rape. When he goes to confront Lambodhar along with Chandramouli's parents for conning them all off child support money, Lambodhar reveals the rape. Chandramouli's parents immediately forget all about Lambodhar and turn their ire towards Madhusudhan.
  • Sexual Extortion: Anand Rao, the owner of the company Gowri works at, propositions her. When she refuses, saying she is not that kind of woman, he gives her an ultimatum. Sleep with him, or get fired and blacklisted, so nobody else will hire her.
  • Values Dissonance: It seems awfully strange for an orphanage to just let Lambodhar take one of its boys away for a few days, when such a request in any Western Hemisphere orphanage would set off all kinds of red flags. However, in India, pedophilia against girls is treated seriously, while pedophilia against boys is seen as extremely unthinkable. This is due to homosexuality itself being such a deeply taboo concept there. At that time, Lambodhar is Happily Married, so the orphanage would have no reason to suspect him of such tendencies.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Gowri's stepmother treats her like a slave while her dad is still alive, then throws her onto the street when her father dies.
  • The Woobie: Gowri.
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