Onto the final release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Malayalam film Ottu on Manorama Max(later released in Tamil too). A film that again I knew very little about yet it promised to be a stylized thriller. But moreover it was a Malayalam film and I didn’t want to miss out on it given the insane track record. I was reading up a few reviews which had absolutely panned the film which was kind of odd for me. The reason for it being that Malayalam films generally aren’t exactly panned the way this film was. So then does Ottu manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Ottu follows the story of an idle man who is given the responsibility to get back the memory of a dreaded gangster. This is all that I had read regarding the story of the film and it had definitely got me excited. It did have a theme which would naturally evoke that sense of excitement. The screenplay standing at a shade over a 100 minutes meant it would be absolutely helter-skelter as far as the drama is concerned.
The first thing that flashed onscreen was Chapter 2 which kind of had me confused on whether there was a chapter one too. As the film met with its conclusion, I got to know that there is a prequel and a sequel planned for the film in the form of Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 with Chapter 2 being the first part. This was an exciting tactic because you did keep the audience in the dark regarding its character and the world building. So in a way, the audience would be having as much information as the characters(given it dealt with amnesia).
The drama does get its locations on point. Now the initial part of the drama is set in Mumbai and so with the use of some actual locations around the city, you do get a sense of the city. The main players are introduced without a buildup which did seem odd to begin with but that was a smart move here by the writers. I really then began enjoying the new-found bromance between the characters.
Things do take a hit slightly with the road trip and this is where the criticism of the film does hold true. The events did seem to be rather uneventful and surely a better way forward would have elevated the script. The entire middle section was about the two characters spending time with one another wherein one of them tries to get back the memories of the other. The writers may have wanted an organic approach, however it didn’t quite translate well onscreen. Perhaps had they stuck to its source material and kept it fast paced, this may have worked better.
But if you are able to make it past this roadblock, there are massive twists ahead in the final 30 minutes, something that I did not see them coming. The grand revelation will shock you while the characters undergo complete mayhem in the final act that was quite exciting and something straight out of an Abbas Mustan film! And things are nicely setup for its prequel and sequel, either of which would be an exhilarating ride. So overall, the screenplay was flawed but still worth your time.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are adequate, nothing really to shout about. The music is quite good here but the BGM is even better and it constantly does its job even when things aren’t going well. The cinematography had shades of a Michael Bay film with flying drones but it was designed to be exactly that – stylized. Director Fellini TP does a pretty good job here in the first and the final act but the middle act is where he stumbles. But overall, it still was a good attempt as far as direction is concerned.
The performances are pretty good here. Jackie Shroff adds star power in this film through his cameo. Amalda Liz has her moments to shine as well. Eesha Rebba as Kalyani looks pretty and does a pretty good job. Kunchacko Boban as Kichu has so many shades to his chsracter and he will surely take you on a thrilling ride. Arvind Swami as David is excellent and oozes of style especially towards the end. Both Kunchacko and Arvind have cracking chemistry together wherein both of them put on a show!
Ottu is a decent thriller with some exciting twists towards the end that will catch you off guard. Available on Manorama Max.