'Oopiri' review: It is a tragicomedy with a spoonful of Hyderabadi dum biryani
Cast: Nagarjuna, Karthi, Tamannaah, Prakash Raj, Ali, Jayasudha, Gabriella Demetriades, Anushka, Shriya Saran, Adivi Sesh.
Director: Vamshi Paidipally.
Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, and Kamal Haasan are some of the A-list stars in Telugu cinema who are not hell-bent on wooing the most attractive woman they spot on the streets or coffee shops on-screen now. After doing that for several decades, they have started accepting roles based on the honesty of the script, and their sense of relatability toward other things that make the movie they are going to be a part of.
Nagarjuna has his thinking hat on for a while now. ‘Manam’, ‘Soggade Chinni Nayana’, and now ‘Oopiri’, are the by-products of his intelligence. Vikramaditya (Nagarjuna) and Sreenu (Karthi) are half-lives. They are waiting on the edge of their scarred hearts. They need each other to pour their weights into troughs of emotional fulfillment. ‘Oopiri’ happens when a quadriplegic billionaire loses hope and a good-for-nothing youth starts looking for the purpose of life.
Karthi acts as the hands and legs of Nagarjuna. Nag doesn’t want a caretaker; he wants a friend, who he can count on, in the middle of the night. In the original French film, ‘The Intouchables’, the caretaker offers cigarettes, but in this Telugu adaptation, there are no cigarettes. Nag stays away from alcohol, too. Still, the makers have let an item song into the ‘Oopiri’ party. Just when my smile started to come down from my lips to my heart, the item number pulled it back. These are the marks of localizing the content.
Tamannaah is the lady Karthi has set his eyes on. Nag gives a couple of tips to encourage the slightly loud-mouthed youth and it eventually works well like a fairy tale. Though, Karthi and Tamannaah get a dance number to show that they are the couple of the film (included to cash in on the success of the on-screen pair, as well), Nag and Karthi are the true pair of ‘Oopiri’. From the bottom to the top, Vamshi Paidipally has treated ‘Oopiri’ like a buddy film. The ladies of the house, Tamannaah, Jayasudha, Kalpana, Anushka, Shriya Saran, Gabriella Demetriades, (along with the supporting men, Prakash Raj and Ali), make a sizable contribution to the overall scheme of execution, nevertheless, the characters played by the two leading male stars are the ones that you find in the night sky.
Karthi is as clueless as a speechless bird when Nag decides to buy a painting that has nothing on it but screaming red spots. Encouraged by the buyers’ stupidity, he goes ahead and creates a masterpiece of his own. Of course, he is not stingy with colors. So, there are more colors and strokes in his painting. Similarly, when he visits the Eiffel Tower, he’s not awestruck by the magnificence of the architecture; it’s just another cell tower for him. On the other hand, Nag is unhappy about not being able to get a glimpse of the topmost part of the Tower because of his disability. That’s the difference between their styles of living.
When an impromptu car race pops up, a scroll runs at the bottom of the screen saying speeding is dangerous. We already have them for smoking, drinking, and usage of CG. What’s next? Wear seatbelts while driving / get an Aadhaar card? It’s annoying to watch such text messages as they add zero value to the films and they also rob the thrill of experiencing the creators’ imagination.
We’re all a little broken on the inside. What keeps us moving is a piece of Sreenu’s mantra of enjoying to the fullest without having boundaries, and a piece of Vikram’s mantra of accepting the past and learning to take the first step in the right direction.
‘Oopiri’ is definitely Vamshi’s best, so far. Karthi’s walk of fame in Telugu cinema has just begun, and if Nagarjuna’s upcoming projects are as exciting as his recent releases, he’s a double scoop winner.
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