Saturday, 18 August 2018

Odu Raja Odu: Different people run in different ways

Can a set-top box and a puff of weed push one to a convoluted plight? Says yes, the director duo Nishant-Jathin in their debut flick ‘Odu Raja Odu’.

With an uncredited usage of butterfly effect in the narration, the filmmakers have made this heist thriller in a Syuzhet structure screenplay. One incident in some way or other is related to other.

It all starts with Mano (Guru Somasundaram) saying,”I never knew, a set-top box would be this significant to run a life.”

But, the story is not just about Mano. There is a hyperlink as well in this multiple-timeline structure that tells stories of two kidnappers, two gangs and two notorious toddlers. If you keep a track of all these incidents it becomes a little simple to understand the plot. There are a couple of sequences where the toddlers come across the other three storylines just to create a conflict to take the narration to next level.

‘Odu Raja Odu’ seems to have all its links sublime. But, there are instances where we feel like they are placed forcibly.

However, at the end, when it connects back to any of the other three storylines, the filmmakers establish a fine-drawn justification. There are a lot of realisation moments filled in the narration. Say, the intriguing misplacements of a mole on the face of Kalimuthu (Nasser), and in the climax where Chellamuthu (Ravindra Vijay) and Gajapathy(Melvin) play 'dishkyoon' with guns.

The cast-sheet of ‘Odu Raja Odu’ runs to pages, eventually making none of them to have a longer screenspace.

Despite this, even a single character of the movie is not irrelevant. Even, the unnamed role of Powerstar Srinivasan has a very consequential part to play. And Guru, who is in the middle of all these has driven the flow with his naive and innocent emotions.

Lakshmi Priyaa playing his opposite does not have much to do onscreen, but whatever she does reminds how natural a wife would demand something from her man - but actually, she is in an emotional need. That's a concoction of brilliant writing, execution and performance by the woman. Hope she essays more such roles.

Was that just because of Guru in the lead or the hyperlink, I felt 'Odu Raja Odu' to be similar with 'Aaranya Kandam'? Though the latter was a serious neo-noir, this one totally is a quirky comedy.

But like 'Aaranya Kandam', and unlike other gangster stories we have seen in Tamil, 'Odu Raja Odu' opens debate on a number of societal aspects.

It touches upon polyandry and an unsatisfied married life on one side and apparently deals with the quarrel and relationship complication between a couple who are made for each other. If time permits, I would even write a separate piece on the portrayal of women in this movie - it's worth it.

This is the third film I am watching this year, next to Panjumittai and Vinveli Payana Kurippugal, that is critically contented in one way but has gone unnoticed. I wish film freaks out there watch this and encourage the attempt of the new director-duo. Just like what Odu Raja Odu's screenplay symbolises, we should not jump to any conclusion until knowing the whole picture.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, August 18, 2018.

A part or complete version of this review by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.