Manam was the start of a new chapter in cinema for Nagarjuna and, while Soggade Chinni Nayana had mixed success, his latest film Oopiri is doing extremely well at the box office. An official remake of the second highest grossing French film, Intouchables, Oopiri had grabbed our interest since the first look of the film was released.  I never thought I would see Karthi and Nagarjuna share the same screen space but, after watching this film, I have to say their paring was just charming.


Katha, Screenplay, Darsakathvam

I don’t believe in spoiling the plot of a film before watching it. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and would like to know the plot, you can read more about it here.

The story and screenplay of Oopiri was adapted from the French film, Intouchables, to be more familiar for a South Indian audience (the movie was also simultaneously released in Tamil as Thozha). While I think the the director’s (Vamsi Paidipally’s) efforts were successful, it felt as if certain aspects of the film were included just to make it appeal more to a mass audience. Certain aspects of the film felt out of place, like the item song or the incomplete love story between Karthi and Tamanna. Oopiri is a classy film and it should have been portrayed as such without any unnecessary diversions, because the diversions only detract from the otherwise  more uniformly enchanting experience the film could have been. I understand that the director wanted to play it safe, especially since having a popular hero like Nagarjuna portray such a crippled role was already a risk, but I hope directors making other experimental films can be more daring and less formulaic in the future, irregardless of the cast.

Apart from that, I thought the story of the film was genuinely refreshing. Seeing good character transformations in Nagarjuna and Karthi as their unusual bond forms is inspiring and there are a number of passionate moments in the film that are actually thought-provoking.

Performances

Nagarjuna

We are all well aware of Nagarjuna’s talent as an actor, but I am really glad that he agreed to portray Vikram, a disabled, wealthy businessman, in this film; it sets a precedent for other popular actors to do challenging, offbeat roles. Vikram has a limited range of motion but conveys plenty of meaning and emotion through his expressions; he is a challenging character to play, but Nagarjuna brought him to life with ease.

Karthi

As much as I liked Nagarjuna’s performance in this film, I liked Karthi’s depiction of Seenu, a lively, carefree ex-convict who is misunderstood and helpless, even more. The last time I saw Karthi in a film was when I saw Awaara in 2010, but his performance in this film proves that he has only matured as an actor since, though he has not aged a bit.

Tamannaah

Tamannaah shares a good amount of screen space with the main protagonists of the film, Vikram and Seenu, but it is clear that her character isn’t really as important. She plays Keerthi, Vikram’s attractive, composed secretary, and is Seenu’s love interest.

Others

Prakash Raj plays the role of Vikram’s close friend, Prasad, and provides some good comic relief. Jayasudha is touching, as always, as Seenu’s mother. Ali is adequate as Lingam, Karthi’s lawyer and friend. The remaining cast is satisfactory, but not really notable. There are a number of cameos in this film and they are all fairly well justified.

Production Values

Music

Gopi Sundar is definitely one of the best music directors to enter Telugu cinema in the past decade. He is consistently providing chart-busters for every film he has been a part of and his stylish soundtrack for Oopiri is no different. The background music is extremely nostalgic after you’ve seen the film and the upbeat Ayyo Ayyo gets stuck in your head in no time.

Cinematography

P. S. Vinod is back with Nagarjuna after working with him for Manam and Soggade Chinni Nayana. Beautiful foreign visuals of Paris and the posh interior and exterior of Vikram’s mansion contrast brightly with the slums of Seenu’s upbringing, highlighting the dichotomy between the rich and the poor in modern society in a very cinematic way.


Final Verdict

I haven’t seen the original French film, so I can’t really comment on how much justice Oopiri does to the original content. However, looking at the film as it’s own entity, I can definitely say that Oopiri is a film to watch. Beautiful visuals blended with a classy soundtrack that brings to life a touching friendship between two outcasts from opposite worlds, Oopiri is truly a breath of fresh air in Telugu cinema; we could definitely benefit from more films like it.

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Tags

gopi sundar, intouchables, karthi, movie review, nagarjuna, oopiri, p. s. vinod, remake, tamannaah, tamil movie, telugu movie, thozha, vamsi paidipally

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