Vamsi Paidipally’s Oopiri (2016) Movie Review
Movie Review: Oopiri
Censor Certificate: U
Runtime: 158 Minutes
Cast: Nagarjuna AKkineni, Karthi, Tamannaah, Kalpana, Prakash Raj, Anushka SHetty, Shriya Saran and Ali
Director: Vamsi Paidipally
Music Director: Gopi Sunder
Producer: PVP Cinema
Seenu (Karthi) is an unemployed ex-con who goes to the Aditya Mansion of a quadriplegic man to get proof that no one would hire him. But Vikram Aditya (Nagarjuna) hires him inspite of Seenu seriously wanting to find work. They have many differences. But wouldn’t you know it, it turns out that Seenu is precisely the kind of caretaker Vikram needs to loosen up and live his life again – and Vikram is precisely the employer Seenu needs to show him some responsibility so that Seenu can become a productive member of society. At first, Seenu seems hopeless, he doesn’t take the job seriously, and he spends more time ogling Vikram’s beautiful assistant Keerthi (Tamannah) than he does caring for him. Vikram with his no non sense approach, his wide friendly smile, make everyone fit in. And while Seenu at first sees Vikram as a stick in the mud – an upper class, out of touch handicapped man gradually, he starts to see the real person underneath – the person who needs help.
Performances are the key here. Akkineni Nagarjuna fits in well with his intense and laden persona. As a quadriplegic person and keeping unsmiling expression throughout that suits his character perfectly. Karthi is really great and it’s good to see that he is supporting ventures like these on a personal level following the right path. His massy lines are good. He excelled in the emotional sequences too. Tamannaah’s photogenic looks are captured quite lovingly so it’s not so much a chore watching her glide through the motions of love. Her character is totally underdeveloped and she fails to leave a mark by the end. Prakash Raj looked fine in his role and performs well too in his few scenes and so does Jayasudha as Karthi’s mother. Ali, Tanikella Bharini, Late. Kalpana, Nicole, Shreya Saran, Adivi Sesh and Anushka Shetty all play their cameo kind of short roles effectively.
An official remake of high-on-emotions French entertainer “The Intouchables” featuring Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet, this desi take by Vamsi Paidipally is a little more on the showy romantic side to be deemed an emotional fun ride. Also there’s very little connect in the overwhelming display of celebration of life, so the overall enjoyment is entirely limiting.
The fun element is strong enough in the first half, but the emotional spectacle is not in the second. The storyline lacks strength mainly because after creating a few routine set pieces of love, it gets bogged down in unviable vacuities. We have seen this kind of story before. Easy comparisons might be “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Lakshmi” (for subplot) but truthfully, this movie closely resembles the 1995 comedy “Houseguest”, but with an invalid not a wimpy father. Seriously there are uncanny familiar subplots in both of these movies.
The movie (based on a true story) comes perilously close to falling into the uneasy trap of fun-guy-changes-unknown persons-prospective cinema, but it pulls itself back from that brink by focusing on dynamics of two men. The success of the story is that neither one of them treats the other as inferior or superior, thats unlike. And from that they both eventually appreciate the differences between the two and what they can each benefit. The opening scene between the lead actors through the streets of Hyderabad only to fool the police by saying Nagarjuna is having stroke and needs a hospital is as much Nag’s high stake prank as it is Karthi’s. Neither man considers the others problems insignificant, nor do they ever treat them insurmountable. This Vamsi Paidipally adaptation is almost a frame-to-frame regurgitation of the original. While the exposition takes up most of the runtime, not enough is done to shore up either the set up or the final revelation. As a result it comes out a little too pat to be justifiable.
The solid USP of Oopiri is its soundtrack by Gopi Sunder with few fine compositions and lyrics. Out of his compositions only “Sithakoka Chiluka” sadly comes in the film just at a wrong moment. Cinematography by PS Vinod is major asset of the film, the way he frames race sequences and Mansion shots deserve an applause. Editor Praveen KL could have worked a bit on the second half of the film. The shoddy editing from the Paris tour dilutes the film’s impact. Production values of “PVP Cinema” are fine.
Telugu cinema has always been a difficult ground for remakes as the story lines structured for audiences elsewhere, often found it difficult to gel with the tastes of our Telugu audiences. Even though that is the case, the recent years witnessed a lot of remakes in Telugu, with very few of them making an decent impression among the viewers. “Oopiri” is the latest one to add to the list, and this being the first official adaptation made by the director Vamsi Paidipally. So in all, Oopiri has a fine direction, good performances and some well executed emotional sequences. But with nothing new to reveal or surprise in its content, for me it just remains a good one time watch and not anything more than that as being projected.
Survi Review: 2.5/5 (rated 0.5 more for few emotional Bromance moments)