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Oke Oka Jeevitham

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
4.5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

We are just a day away from the weekend but the OTT platforms continue to churn out some fresh content. And with that I finished watching the new Telugu film Oke Oka Jeevitham(the Tamil name being Kanam) which is now streaming on SonyLiv. I must admit that I knew very little about the film and I came across its review on Anmol’s Youtube channel Tried And Refused Productions wherein he had heaped high praises of the film which was already in its last leg in cinemas. Right from that point, I was keen awaiting its OTT release which did take place last night.

From Anmol’s review, I got a sense that the film was another one of those nostalgic rides down memory lane but in a sci-fi setup much like Back To The Future. It was on my last birthday that I had shared across social media “An Open Letter To The 15 Year Old Me” who was a totally different person back then, someone who couldn’t talk well and someone who was very shy. This film in many ways did seem like an open letter to your old self in guiding him across all the obstacles which your current self has faced over the years. So instantly, the film had a connection with me even before I had started watching it. Now that I have finished watching the Telugu film Oke Oka Jeevitham, here are my two cents on it.

Story & Screenplay

Oke Oka Jeevitham follows the story of three friends who are sent via a time machine to their past with the intention of each one of them wanting to correct a thing from their past. The story may be reminiscent of the English film Back To The Future from the concept perspective but the story is totally different. It is a heartwarming ride that came with a rush of nostalgia in a tale which will make you laugh and cry, both in equal measures. The screenplay standing at more than 150 minutes might seem daunting to begin with, but this is an emotional and nostalgic ride that you wish wouldn’t end.

The drama opens with the introduction of the scientists who have built a time machine in the past till an experiment goes awry. Cut to present times(2019 in the film) wherein you are introduced to the three protagonists – each one of them either have an insecurity or a personal void. The drama takes an interesting turn when they are requested to go and mend their pasts for a better future. The change in setting is beautifully portrayed through greenery representing the past(where the characters inhale fresh air the moment they land in 1998).

The drama is engaging and engrossing with the right doses of humour. I have taken a liking for two kinds of films which I believe have an acquired taste – one being the coming of age ones and the other films featuring trips down memory lane. And here the latter is implemented so well. For those of you who are curious, this might seem like a sci-fi film from its onset(and very well executed too within its limited budget), but in its heart, it is an emotional film about people or things that are lost along the way. This core emotional is so powerful that it touches the strings of your heart ever so beautifully along the way.

There are multiple fun moments which are thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining along with several emotional moments. The twist in the tale at the halfway mark adds an interesting dimension to the already engaging drama which does lead to moments of confusion(of course in a good way). Another strong aspect about the screenplay is the characterization and character dynamics which are beautifully woven in the screenplay. All these come together and make for a heartwarming final act that did have me in tears. The messaging at the end was just so good(something that I have tried summing up in my next paragraph).

I had mentioned in my review of “Chhello Show” on how my grandma had then encouraged my mother into introducing me to films. Today she is not there and how I wish I could have shown her my sweet little world of Popcorn Reviewss. But certain things are just your fate and no matter how much you try, you cannot change your past. And that is something which the film does try to address too. You can only learn from your past but not change it, rather work with things which are within your reach today that will soon become a past someday. That way you needn’t even change your past. Such a beautiful message and so well told in a screenplay that is just brilliantly penned.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are funny wherein the humour never seems forced, rather it flows naturally, and also packs in the emotional quotient beautifully. The music is really heartfelt and some of the songs just enter your heart only to rest within it. The BGM is good too and goes well with the drama. The cinematography is first rate. The VFX is good considering that the film is made at a budget which is not high. Director Shree Karthick does a magnificent job here. The first line in the film(and last too) wherein he does dedicate the film to his mother, made me realise that this was in a way a personal story which he presents it beautifully. His direction is simply brilliant!

Performances

The performances are simply outstanding here. I have watched the Telugu version and so I will not be acquainted with performances of Ramesh Thilak and Sathish who play their parts in the Tamil version but I am sure they would be brilliant as well. Ritu Varma as Vaishnavi looks pretty and has her moments to shine. The 3 kids Jay Adithya, Hitesh and Nithyaraj are simply outstanding. Nassar as Rangi Kutta Paul is terrific and an absolute delight to witness.

Priyadarshi as Chaitu is earnest and sincere and rather well restrained in some of the emotional scenes too. His smile at the end is infectious and that summed up a beautiful performance. Vennela Kishore as Seenu has his comedy on point as usual but he is terrific in some of the emotional scenes too. Amala Akkineni as Adhi’s mother is such a heartwarming character who brings into play so many emotions. Her character will put a smile on your face every time she appears onscreen but will also leave you with tears in your eyes. Sharwanand as Adhi delivers a wonderfully heartfelt performance that stays with you long after the film is over. He beautifully portrays his pain in quite a towering act.

Conclusion

Oke Oka Jeevitham(aka Kanam in Tamil since it is a bilingual) is perhaps the best Telugu film this year with a drama that is so heartwarming that it will make you smile with a tear in your eye. Available on SonyLiv and Highly Highly Recommended!

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