It is still a Thursday and we are just a day away from the weekend. But the new releasing have started trickling already. With that I finished watching the new Telugu film O Kala which is streaming on Hotstar. Now, I do prefer to go into a film blind but as far as O Kala was concerned, I had absolutely no clue on what the film had to offer. I did not read its synopsis and neither did watch a trailer, instead I went a step ahead with my experimentation of having zero knowledge about the film. All I could sense from its poster is that it was from the romance genre, a genre that has been fast fading into oblivion.
There is so much content to watch these days and majorly the crowd favourite is thrillers and mysteries. So amidst the many thrillers if there is a genre that does come as a breath of fresh air, then that is the romance genre. If done right, I would still like to believe that there is an audience for it. And it is the Telugu Film Industry who has been churning out the films of this genre on a consistent basis. One of the last year’s biggest success was Sita Ramam, an old school romantic film that did connect with so many individuals. And so when I did get to know about O Kala, I was looking forward on what the film had to offer in a genre which is a rarity in today’s times. So then does O Kala manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
O Kala follows the story of a young woman undergoing severe depression who has thoughts of ending her life before she meets a stranger who transforms her life forever. The story here has its heart in the right place. In fact, I was amazed at how measured the drama is as opposed to being completely over the top and far from reality. It is organic, thought provoking and poignant in more ways than one. The screenplay standing at 2 hours does not overstay its welcome and instead makes for a compelling watch.
The drama does begin abruptly with a young woman being asked to quit her job thereby resulting in her undergoing depression. At this point, it is unclear on the baggage that she has been carrying and the events leading up to her depression. A chance encounter with a stranger results in a series of flashbacks that does give a picture about her emotional baggage. It is always an interesting setup when two strangers brew up a conversation. And the reason being is that you as a viewer are unsure of where the conversation would be headed(just like the characters who portray the parts of the strangers). And so here, I did find myself being invested in the backstories of both the protagonists. Some parts of both stories were relatable and it definitely seemed to be grounded to reality.
The proceedings are interesting and engrossing with a tinge of philosophy which is sprinkled in it. The contrast of the two flashbacks had different flavours to it – one was slightly emotionally heavy and the other tilting towards a comedy(some parts of the humour did seem forced I must admit). I think where the film minutely stutters in are the transitions from one scene to another. For instance, the one of the protagonists is in disagreement of going on a trip together at the bar. Cut to the very next scene when the two protagonists have already reached their destination. The link here between the two scenes was missing. Having said that, the vibe of the drama is quite delicate and absorbing with the right kind of emotions that it is dabble with.
The third act does range from being slightly cliched to engrossing given the twists and turns in the drama related to one character. I did feel that the events leading up to the twist were slight convenient from a writing point of view. But because the emotional core of the film was intact, I was willing to overlook a few of the flaws. The little backstory of one of the characters does fit the pieces of the puzzle quite well leading up to a moving final act. Also, the messaging at the end is endearing. So overall, the screenplay here is quite well written and does have its heart in the right place.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational and the writers do well to keep them rooted in reality. None of the lines did seem to be out of place here which was a positive! The music is melodious and does keep the drama flowing. None of the songs stall the flow of the drama. The BGM is soft and does blend well with the drama. The cinematography was quite decent too. I did feel only the editing could have been better here particularly with the transition scenes. Director Deepak Kolipaka does a good job in consistently keeping the drama measured and engaging. The good part was that he doesn’t try to go overboard with the emotions and he does keep them in check. This does result in a journey where you do connect with the characters.
The performances are quite good here. Shaktidhar Rao as Sharan has his moments to shine. Viva Raghav as Tarun does a good job with the comedy here putting a smile on your face particularly in the first hour. Prachi Thaker as Pratyusha has a good screen presence and does a good job here. The maturity of her character is showcased particularly in the dying minutes of the film in a job done really well. Gourish Yeleti as Harsha has a charming presence onscreen and there is a sincerity to his character that really makes him endearing to watch. Roshni Sahota as Harika is phenomenal and she just looks so comfortable onscreen. There are loads of emotions for her to play with and she does a brilliant job here.
O Kala is a sweet little emotional drama with philosophical undertones and featuring good performances that makes for a compelling watch. Available on Hotstar.