Tollywood Film Review “Oopiri”

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First, the Recap:

When life decides it will throw us under the bus, even despite the choices made and the fault being our own putting us there, the next moves to pick ourselves up and move on remain. These actions can very well dictate the road we will walk and define who we truly are in the next phase of our existence. Recently released from imprisonment, one such man facing this journey is Sreenu (Karthi), whose poor decisions, while having been paid for, now ostracize him from his own family. Desperate to find validation and correct his mistakes, with the assistance of his uncle, Sreenu finds gainful employment as a caregiver to a wealthy businessman and quadriplegic, Vikram (Nagarjuna Akkineni).

Initially thinking he is in over his head after learning the full extent of his expected duties thanks to Vikram’s beautiful secretary Keerthi (Tamannaah Bhatia), Sreenu slowly but surely begins to form an unanticipated bond with his new boss, while also making initially lame attempts to woo Keerthi. The deeper surprises come, however, as Sreenu begins to realize that he is the only one within Vikram’s immediate circle that doesn’t see him as a cripple, but rather just as a man in need of rediscovering the simple and pure joys of living that he had prior to the accident which changed his whole world, including losing the love of his life.

Taking charge of reshaping Vikram’s state of being ends up taking them all on an adventure that circumnavigates disabilities and the entire notions of what can and cannot be accomplished, while teaching everyone involved what it means to live absolutely.

Next, my Mind:

Truth be told, there is quite literally so much that occurs in director Vamsi Paidipally’s dramedy, based on the 2011 French effort “The Intouchables”,  that summing it up without giving away too much of the film’s overall narrative and main themes is virtually impossible. Suffice it to say, being this reviewer’s first experience with a Tollywood production (look it up if you want further definition), the story fires on all cylinders and delivers elements one would not remotely expect in an effort touted as a comedy/drama.  Filled with a potent blend of not just humor and drama, but action, deep, heartfelt pathos along with excellent dance/music numbers, it is clear Hyderabad’s Telugu-based film industry is going very, very strong.

Karthi is superb in his role as Sreenu, providing the viewer with a character with whom they can easily relate to, regardless of what state of being he finds himself in.  He is ultimately a man who not only chooses to stand out from others, but does so in a way that ends up positively affecting everyone else around him, even if not always right away. Akkineni is also just perfect in playing Vikram, a man struck with an unfortunate circumstance that has him on the verge of giving up, but then comes to know challenge, joy, and personal redemption thanks to Sreenu’s bold decisions for him when others are playing it safe.

Bhatia’s Keerthi is absolutely radiant, bursting with authoritative vigor, annoyed dismissiveness of Sreenu at the start, and a sexy appeal that is quite simply undeniable as she becomes more and more drawn in by him despite attempts to resist it.  Add supporting turns by Prakash Raj, Jayasudha, Anushka Shetty, and Shriya Saran on top of gorgeous filming locales including the “City of Love” itself, Paris, France and what comes about is yet another excellent, humorous, dramatic, heart-tugging, deeply accessible Indian film, rivaling anything Hollywood puts out, with flare and a commitment to touch the world with its presence.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!



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