Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Okkadunnadu: Dishoom-dishoom!

Okkadunnadu arrived in the mail from Netflix, I didn’t even remember why I had requested it. A swift glance at the sleeve said that it starred Gopichand, which is reason enough. I had enjoyed his performance immensely as the villain in Varsham and decided to take advantage of the small selection of SI films that Netflix had to offer before shelling out big bucks to Bhavani DVD.

Okkadunnadu was okay. I’m glad I rented instead of buying it but I don’t regret watching it.

The story is set up in that time-honored
masala formula – no, not the one with childhood love but the other one. Okay, no, not the one where there is parental drama and star-crossed love. Look, let me just tell you – it’s the one where you are dropped right into the action and then find out the hero’s Tragic Past ™ right after the interval and then everything makes sense.

In this case, the action we are dropped into takes place in Mumbai and involves the rare (and completely factual)
Bombay blood type. You see, a man (not the hero) needs a blood donor for his ailing mother. Coincidentally, a notorious Mumbai thug named Sona Bhai (Mahesh Manjrekar, in an inspired performance) is also seeking a donor of the same blood type. The twist is that Sona Bhai doesn’t just want a blood donor, he needs somebody to give him a heart.

Guess which business-casual hero has the rare Bombay blood type?

Meanwhile, Gopi is in Mumbai to sell a beach-front cottage and is busy following his real estate agent (played by Neha Jhulka) around until she agrees to get the client to hand over the money right away.

The big problem with
Okkadunnadu and the first is that this premise is awesome and I was riveted for the first hour and a half (or so) of the film. However, once the back story was brought in and we find out why Gopi is in Mumbai things get less urgent. There is almost no romance or comedy track to contrast with the main revenge story and the scenes of Gopi running around and kicking ass go from exhilarating to draining.

Nothing makes me sadder than seeing a good premise go to waste. I would almost like to see Arbaaz Khan and Abhinav Kashyap take a crack at reworking this as Salman Khan vehicle.

Okkadunnadu wasn’t a total waste. Gopi is, of course, excellent. He is really good at kicking ass and taking names and I completely understand the impulse to just give him a whole movie where that is all he does. He has a very physical presence onscreen. He looks substantial, like he could actually be knocking out 5 bad-guys with a single swing of a lead pipe and then wire-working into the air to knock out two more with a well-timed kick. And his fighting is graceful – almost like dancing.

The thing is that Gopi is good at other things, too – like dancing. When we first meet his character Kiran, all we see is a mild-mannered, business casual attired, average Joe – but Gopi makes Kiran a bit edgy without being creepy. Other actors are overbearing or pushy when stalking their lady-loves but Gopi conveys this dignified desperation so well that I was disappointed to find out the lame backstory behind it.

In other words, my problem was that the story didn’t do justice to the cast and crew’s abilities.

(It should be Sidd on this bike, not Gopi!!!)

I’m not being factitious, either. I was getting all into the story and then the writer gives us a mediocre backstory that involves Gopi playacting like a rich, carefree layabout – something that he should
never, ever do. I was embarrassed just watching it. He takes his shirt off and cavorts with bikini girls!! If ever the words “Do Not Want” deserved to be uttered, it was then. I wanted to time-travel into the past and shake the writer by the collar! Bro, if you are going to give Gopi a tragic backstory, please to be making it involve a family farm that is going to be repossessed by the bank or a desperately ill mother or something.

If I want a movie about a rich, carefree layabout who reforms, I’ll go watch Siddharth in
NVNV again.

The whole backstory seemed to have been cobbled together to justify the bikini girl song in Dubai.



(Neha was so cute! One review I read said that her ‘anorexic figure’ wouldn’t play well down South but I just thought she looked sporty.)

So, anyways, Gopi’s action scenes were great; there was some excellent
masala medicine involving important and hi-tech tubes running into Sona Bhai’s chest; an adorable tomboyish heroine; and Rahul Dev in some nerdy glasses. If any (or all) of these appeals to you, please go and watch the film. Otherwise, you can safely pass on it.

(Also, Ragasiya was HOT! DANG! And her figure is decidedly NOT anorexic.)

1 comment:

Louella said...

For me this is the worst movie Yeleti ever don :P Try his others, like Sunday original, AOR or amazing Aithe. Prayanam is the best movie from 2009 that was made in AP :)

Rahasya rocks! There are so many tamil movies with her, like Dishyum, where she was at her best :)

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