Oke Oka Jeevitham: Trials, Tribulations and Time Travel
Oke Oka Jeevitham Review
Star Cast: Sharwanand, Amala Paul, Ritu Varma, Nassar, Vennela Kishore, Priyadarshi, Yog Japee, Hitesh, Nithyaraj, and Ali.
Directed by Shree Karthick
Edited by Sreejith Sarang
Music Composed by Jakes Bejoy
When I travel I want to experience something different, something out of this world, something that rejuvenates me and connects me with my roots, something that refreshes me.
Many of us look to travel to a different country or place to make memories or re-live some old ones. We want to feel the emotions that the adrenaline rush presents to us at that moment. Some films have the power to take us with them to a new world or our world that we have travelled to in the past or hidden somewhere in our memories. Some writers have the quality to identify the moment that really stays with you, haunts you, and reverberates with you for time. Then, they try to present it exactly on the screen as a director, as well. Writers also have a quality of not extending those moments and only a director in them can guess the length truly. Oke Oka Jeevitham / Kanam is a journey film rather than a story. It is more about the journey than the story it offers. That doesn’t mean it offers no story but it offers a pure unadulterated journey to go back to the past and meet yourself as a young one who never thought about worldly issues or problems. Who never gets bogged down by society or who never cares for judgement. There is no trial for a kid and any mistake committed is considered mischief, if we realize the fault and ask for an apology. Easy times yet though when we go through them. Yesterday seems easy to live by as tomorrow keeps hammering Today.
The Trial [Chapter 1]
Shree Karthik took a simple line – a boy who is lost in the past tries to find his way to the present by traveling to the past almost asking his mother to give him a rebirth. Yes, this is a rebirth. How many of us get a chance to experience our mother’s warmth for the first time again? How many of us search for nothing but our mother’s wide smile to feel like we won the entire world? How many of us reach out to our mother for a small favor and then fear that our father would be angry with both of us? How many of us hide behind our mother when some stranger suddenly walks in and tries to manipulate father? No matter what is our age, mother is one person in our life who can only bring out our true selves. Imagine you feeling lost after an interview, feeling low after losing a match, or feeling lost after a breakup, the first person we look up to is our mother. Even if we try to avoid it, she understands our state better than anyone else. So, who else can give us rebirth than the person who made us? Adhi, the character needs to visit his mother to take re-birth as himself.
Adhi never understands himself to understand the world around him. His childhood has always been him being his own company. The other two friends protect him in school. He is not a ranker student and his father has to be a single parent and bread earner. Can he really identify himself? His girlfriend tries to push him to see that side and break the shell but he still doesn’t overcome his fears as he feels guilty for losing his mother. He feels lonely and abandoned. While his father is trying to be his mother too, he doesn’t identify that change in his Father. He cares for no one, not even himself. He needs to learn to care for himself. Then he would start to care for his father, then his girlfriend, and for them about his career too. A lost boy can only be lost until his destination is unattainable. Adhi found his destination in his mother and finally made amends with himself. This time, he learned to sing his troubles away and entertain others through it as his mother is now present in everyone around him as a Universal Being.
The Tribulations [Chapter 2]
Where the film has to go next level, there writer in Shree Karthik thought as a director. Can I really achieve this? Do I need this? He kept questioning him. This aspect works as a double-edged sword. It is nice to have such questioning sense yet not always advisable. You tend to think that you’re questioning too much or thinking too much and missing out on simple emotions. Karthik seems to have banked on winning moments. For example, he gives you a precious moment like Amala Akkineni calling Adhi Kutlu for the first time. Sharwanand gave a very honest expression there as a son who is really experiencing his mother calling him for the first time again. Such a moment reverberates with us but at the same time, he did not concentrate on the gang finding out the address of Michael or Paul as much as they should have. There should have an emphasis on them trying to tell themselves in creative ways so that proceedings don’t get a repetitive post a point. But with Sharwanand and Amala scenes, you can’t find repetitions. Director concentrated on them because his entire idea is dependent on that factor. That inconsistency could have been avoided. For example, in every scene, Sharwanand listening to Amala and his father’s conversations like a young kid seem cute and funny. At the same time, Priyadarshi‘s scene with his younger self seems a bit dragged out or repetitive even though they have good comical value. One feels like those scenes could have had much more going on there too.
Director and writer really shook hands when writing Parallel world scenes. Young Adhi and Sharwanand both experience pain of losing their mother at the same time. Ritu Verma talks to Young Adhi about trying to be his second mother and Elder Adhi reciprocates that emotion when the younger one is confused. Adhi’s dilemma has layers like self-pity, low self-confidence, guilt and loneliness, and fear of failure. Each one had to be broken by his mother. Writer and director, Karthik found just one medicine using time travel for all of them, that is, his mother’s wish. Elder and mature Adhi needed to see how his mother would feel about him wasting his life, and talent. Her breakdown gives him clarity about how she would feel had she been around him. He feels like he would have overcome all his difficulties just by her help but she wants him to do them on his own. Elder Adhi needed this therapy session from the world’s best therapist – MOTHER. Even his girlfriend or his father or GOD couldn’t have done that for him. Such a layered way of identifying a real issue and delivering a simplistic-looking scene as the medicine needs to be appreciated. The same thing appears even in Vennela Kishore‘s younger version and Priyadarshi’s younger version realization scenes – matured individuals they themselves, give them the best advice, be yourself, and learn to accept, the best possible version of yourself. In a way, this movie is a self-help book for those who are really confused and slightly innocent, and indifferent. Many can identify themselves with these main characters.
Time Travel [Chapter 3]
The real problem in writing arises with limited ambition. The stakes in any story need to rise step by step till the chaos point. This story stops at the Interval point and that feels like a chaos point. But interchanging of past and future cannot be chaos as past watching the future is a good idea and well-executed too but the real idea is to identify himself. Hence, the past recognizing future feels like an added interesting point but doesn’t really hold weight as much as the first hour does. So, strong chaos could have helped the stakes and served the purpose even in a better way. In Back to the Future , if the stakes of losing out of his parents uniting during the prom are not felt by the young boy then we wouldn’t have rooted for his success. While in Aditya 369 , death of the hero being announced should have been a bigger chaos point but it has been treated as a twist in the story. A similar mistake has been committed by Karthik here. Michael and Paul’s experiment seems irrelevant to the entire story. Had the hero’s journey and re-birth could also been added to the purpose of Michael and Paul, the experiment and stakes have been raised using them or chaos had been created using them, the impact of the final scenes would have been ten times more than what they have now.
Also, time travel concepts come up with paradoxes. How can young Adhi leave the ring in the future and knowing that for all these years, older Adhi feel like the ring is lost? How can young Adhi looking at his father being so in love and dedicated to him, not try to mend his relationship with him? How can young Adhi leave the knowledge of knowing that someday he would get a chance to travel back in time and lead a normal life? We have overlooked these paradoxes as emotions worked out by the director in Scenes that involve humane-ness came out brilliantly. Had he tried to think about paradoxes, repetitions, stakes, and strong chaos – the script would have been water-tight and the movie would have been a modern-day classic.
Still, this is a Must Watch film as young writers can learn to identify simple moments to create impact. Young directors can learn from this team on how to create pleasing visuals within the budget. Young musicians can learn about giving an OST by listening to and understanding layered Jakes Bejoy‘s work. Also, editors can learn from the first half editing patterns on how to hook audiences till the Interval twist and deliver a simple bang. The second half could have been better on the editing table too. Sharwanand and Amala Akkineni show how to give life to moments on paper. Everyone performed really well. On the whole, deep diving into the past and waking up the younger selves in all of us, this film forces even viewers to go on a time travel journey down the memory lane with some ensemble moments that touch our heartstrings like an Ilayaraja‘s melody. I had a good time during my trip, hope you will also too, carry few tissues if that helps and a backpack full of nostalgia.
Theatrical Trailer: Oke Oka Jeevitham Review