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Upperstall Review



Oru Kal Oru Kannadi


Tamil, Comedy, Drama, Romance, 2012, Color

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Saravanan (Udhayanidhi Stalin) gets a wedding invitation informing him that his lover, Meera (Hansika Motwani), is getting married to someone else in Pondicherry. She also has sent a hand written note, telling him not to attend the wedding. A disturbed Saravanan calls his side kick and close friend, Partha alias Parthasarathy (Santhanam), to the 'rescue'. Partha owns an old car which he usually rents out for marriage bridegroom processions. Saravanan and Partha decide to go to Pondicherry in this car, stop Meera's marriage and lift her (literally speaking) and bring her back. As they travel to Pondicherry, we go through their flash backs, which reveals various degrees of Saravanan and Partho's great friendship, Saravanan falling in love with Meera and Saravanan's unique relation with his parents, especially his mother.

Oru Kal Oru Kannadi (OK OK) is a launching pad for Udhayanidhi Stalin as a hero, (he is the son of MK Stalin and grandson of M Karunanidhi, the DMK Party supremo). Before this film, Udhayanidhi, in a short span of time during the last DMK rule, has become a hugely successful producer and distributor, with many films in his kitty. Given the fact that he comes from Karunanidhi's family, launching himself as a hero now, it has other connotations. So I cannot simply assess him on his acting talent, which he just about manages and that too with strong support from Santhanam and the director in the manner in which he has crafted the scenes around him.

I must accept that the film itself has worked out as a reasonably good launch for Udhayanidhi. In a way, after the rout of DMK in the last election, this is the first major film thing for the DMK family (and party) to cheer about. Udhayanidhi is now, one more 'known face' and a possible 'hero of the masses', which can be launched and used for political games. But there have been major goof ups in designing this launch as well - which could have been easily avoided. His character Saravanan's attitude towards women is frightfully sick. Many of the lewd remarks on women are in bad taste and are not justified. He should have known, MGR became a great hero of masses, because, he maintained the ultimate 'decent man' image, especially with his attitude and values towards women on screen. So, Udhayanidhi and his director, M Rajesh, have been a bit careless in that front, in this important launch. His remarks to the first girl he meets at the signal is highly objectionable and in fact that entire episode between him, the girl and Santhanam, built up at many levels, could have been easily avoided or edited out. It adds nothing to the film. Even in his equation with Meera, who he apparently loves, he has crossed the danger line in many areas. But otherwise, the film is a nice enough comedy drama if you kind of close your eyes to the various social/cultural/political values that come with it.

This is the 3rd film by director M Rajesh after Siva Manasula Sakthi and Boss Engira Baskaran. The second one was distributed by Udhayanidhi Stalin's Red Giant Movies. The success of that film made Rajesh propose a project to Udhayanidhi to play lead role, who asked him to complete the script. Rajesh completed the script and apparently put Udhyanidhi through a complete rehearsal and filmed it with a handy cam. This according to Rajesh, enabled the actors to emote well in a majority of the scenes.

There are many lovely moments in the film. Saravanan and Partha's friendship equation is brilliantly worked out. The portrayal of Saravanan's parents is very interesting. Saravanan's father (Azhagam Perumal), who is a teacher, has not been talking to his mother for the past 20 years, though they live in the same house, as during their marriage, his mother had apparently told him a lie saying she is a graduate while she is not. So to please her husband, his mother has been trying to give her degree exams every year though unsuccessfully. In fact, it was when Saravanan is dropping his mother in his bike for her exams, he meets Meera on the signal. This scene is amazingly done. Saravanan's mother (Saranya Ponvannan), slowly slips out of the bike, offering to take the auto to go for her exam hall, when she senses her son getting completely blown by Meera.

Saranya as the mother is brilliant in this film. She has handled a remarkably tricky role as a wife of a man, who is angry with her and doesn't talk to her for 20 years and as a caring progressive mother to her son. Saravanan's equation with his mother too is outstanding. There is a lovely chemistry between them. The scene where she comes to the shopping mall to 'shout back' at Meera at the instance of her son, is another scene which stand out. Udhayanidhi, looks fine as the hero of the film. He likes being on the screen, which is a very important requirement. His dance movements are very encouraging to people like me, as even I felt, I could dance better. The dance choreography of all the songs seems to have been done, keeping in mind this 'special potential'of Udhayanidhi. The result is they all look very cute. Hansika too, has carried the role extremely well as a reluctant but also teasing lover, but she is not convincing, when she finally accepts her love for Saravanan. In fact, that entire scene itself is weakly handled. This is another problem that I find in many films. It's almost like a virus attack in the second half for all films. The character, plot, story development, script, screenplay, direction and even performance, all go sour by the time the second half starts.

Music by Harris Jayraj works well for the film. Venaam Machan Venaam and many songs are already super hits and at many places in the film, his music literally replaces completely the dialogue and simplifies the scene. Camera work by Balasubramiem is another major asset and yet matter of fact. For me, his role, his contribution in the shot taking of the scene where Saravanan first meets Meera in the signal along with his mother is something I will always remember. Strangely, it evoked and reminded me of the brilliant scene in Gautham Vasudev Menon's film, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu, where Kamal Haasan and Jyothika, are leaving the airport.

But in my opinion the real star of this film, is Santhanam. He literally is the central pillar of the film and manages to salvage all situations by his sheer presence and comic timing. He has given an amazing performance, as the sidekick and close friend of Saravanan. All his portions work beautifully and intelligently and the chemistry between him and Saravanan is wonderful. His performance in the scene where he is desperately called home by Saranya, to save her son, who has locked himself up in the room, from apparent suicide, is a total laughter riot. In fact, Santhanam has been the main stay and played major character roles in all the earlier films of the director and is also set to do so in the one that he is planning after this. OK OK is worth watching for him alone.

Upperstall review by: RV Ramani





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