Oopiri Movie Review
“Oopiri”: A Beautiful Adaptation of a Beautiful film
The much-awaited official Telugu remake of the box-office blockbuster French film “Intouchables” comes with a breath of fresh air and a rollercoaster of emotions. While the original film collected over $250 million with over 40 million ticket views, there was a gap of almost four years since the original swept the top honors in 2012. Thanks to the PVP and a wonderful starcast blessed by stars Nagarjuna and Karthi, Tollywood has got a heartwarming movie that blends the right mix of nativity with unique content that evokes universal emotions.
The story is unusual but relatable. A billionaire Vikram (Nagarjuna) falls off a para gliding trip and becomes a vegetable consigned to a wheel chair, limbless and lifeless. He needs a male attendant who can tend to his care. The advertisement lures a vagabond called Sreenu (Karthi) who is out on parole. A bond develops between Sreenu and Vikramaditya as the rustic, no-holds barred Sreenu treats Vikram with rules that think outside the medical box of conventional bounds that imprison the billionaire all these years in a lifeless way. Tamannah who plays Nag’s secretary balances both the male protagonists with a striking role. There are no villains in the film just a pure interplay of human emotions entrapped in the worlds inhabited by both the characters Nag and Karthi that drives a mesmerising story forward.
For the Telugu audiences, the content is sure to strike gold at the box office because of the unique story of male bonding without the awkwardness of any sexual preferences and the poetic justice to the many aspects of the unfinished business in each of the hero’s lives. Director Vamshi Paidipally who last made “Yevadu” deserves alround praise for not only making a wonderful film that carries the essence of the original French film intact but also embellishing it with superb nativities that resonate with the Telugu mass and class audiences alike. In 158 minutes, the director recreates a magical world that makes you laugh and cry with sensibilities that surprise you. In many ways, as the director said in pre-release, he has discovered himself new and that shows in most scenes. Unlike his earlier films, there is no dosage of violence and no deviant comedy track and no over-dosage of melodrama and contrived family drama just the strain of the story fleshed out with lot of care and restraint. Only, the second half has a few lags that slow down the tempo of the film cruising at three nautical miles per hour. The scenes that show Nagarjuna’s obsession with romance are a bit overdone leading to repetition of his old heroines like Anushka and Shriya and an unnecessary French Diva which lengthen the film.
Performances-wise, Karthi is the real hero of the film and dances on screen with agile acting and animated performance. He plays a role that suits his persona and literally carries the film on his shoulders. Whether egging on Nagarjuna to go after his emotions or serenading Tamannah or completing with his dysfunctional family, Karthi gives a flawless performance. The title credits also show “Introducing Karthi” aptly because this is his first official Telugu film, and if you forget his last box-office hit in Telugu from dubbed version (“Awara”), this is the film that will revive his career at the box-office again. Nagarjuna is regal and mature in his role as a chair-consigned patient, he is the soul of the film and tugs at the hearts of millions of people who have elders at home who demand that extra care. He conveyed the mind of such geriatrics effortlessly as he straddles one emotion after another without moving his limbs or standing up once – that alone must be a stand-out performance for a hero who rarely took such a challenge early. He looks aged without much makeup and pulled a role with dignity that will give hope to many patients who live lives of quiet desperation and loneliness. Some of his lines and those of Karthi are what keep ringing in your ears long after you walk out of the hall – “Where there is love, there is fear and vice-versa”, “We must seek what we lost wherever we last lost it”, “The mind doesn’t travel to every place that man travels to”. The lines written by Abburi Ravi have a Proustian touch to it (“Don’t travel to new places, see with new eyes always”). Tamannah in her performance is refreshingly different than what we saw of her in many of her recent movies where it became routine to see her as a lissome heroine. Dubbed in her own voice, she gives a glamor touch to a male-dominated story with a mature corporate look. Prakash Raj and Jaya Sudha perform their roles with a mechanical touch, no surprise from them.
Scene-wise, some of the best scenes happen indoors when the characters mature in their interaction with each other. But the highlight of the film is the Paris trip which the three main characters take to. The director and the cinematographer capture the essence of Paris City in remarkable detail and depth – nobody would have shown the Eiffel Tower in such a canvass before and that car chase scene is a paisa vasool action sequence that you don’t see even in mainstream action films. There are atleast six scenes in the film where your eyes turn misty and give you goosebumps. Comedy scenes are embedded with the story and the characterisation, it is restricted to the “painting” joke that repeats throughout the film between Karthi and Prakash Raj. Needless, of course are the item song and the series of romantic tracks between Nagarjuna and the women in his love life – it is a necessary aberration that must have got insisted by the King of romance films of our time but bearable. But for it, the length would have admeasured the original French film and looked taut enough. Music by Gopi Sundar is good in the songs but fails to jazz up the BGM. For the original French film, famous music composer E.Ludovico rhapsodised the moods of the film brilliantly. Gopi Sundar made efforts to localise his music but there is not a strain of one melody that stands out in the BGM score. Songs, on the other hand, are well-composed and picturised by director Vamshi.
To sum up, “Oopiri” is worth the wait and delivers on entertainment in a uniquely native style rendered by the director with honesty and clean narrative. The last Nagarjuna film released in 2016 grossed up above Rs.45 crores already. If this film with its positive content and resonating theme generates bigger buzz during this long weekend, it can cross that tally easily. For the Telugu audience it is going to be a well-sought film because a story of this magnitude in male bonding hasn’t hit the screens for a long,long time. It may be NTR Jr’s miss that the meatiest role in the film went to Karthi’s credit and he made most capital out of it. It now remains to be seen whether producer PVP makes money on his capital – which doesn’t look difficult considering the film is mostly short in Annapurna Studios. More power to Tollywood and congratulations to the makers for choosing films that are one up on substance than style.
Telugu360.com Rating : 3.5/5
Cast : Akkineni Nagarjuna, Karthi, Tamannaah, Anushka ..
Director : Vamshi Paidipalli
Written by : Abburi Ravi
Music : Gopi Sundar
Cinematography : TS Vinod
Editing : Madhu
Producer : Prasad V Potluri