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'OK Bangaram' Review: Love @ Mumbai2.0

Movie: OK Bangaram
Rating: 3.25/5
Banner:
Sri Venkateswara Creations
Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Nithya Menon, Prakash Raj and Others
Cinematography: P. C. Sreeram
Editor: A. Sreekar Prasad
Music: A R Rehman
Producer: Dil Raju
Story, Screenplay and Direction: Mani Ratnam
Release Date: Apr 17th, 2015

Mani Ratnam, Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menon – all names that would want you to go to the movies. For Telugu audiences, Dulquer is new, but he is worth every minute of screen time and Nithya is her usual sweet self. So now, let’s see what Mani Ratnam has to say in this new age love story and how…

Story:
Adi or Aditya Ghattamaneni (Dulquer Salmaan) is a gaming designer who comes to Mumbai to join his new job. Even as he gets off the train, he sees Nithya Menon calling it off with her boyfriend and threatening to jump on to the tracks. Well, goes without saying, Adi tries to stop her from the other side.

To cut a long story short, he next meets her at the wedding of his friend and Adi and Tara (Nithya Menon) hit it off instantly. Meanwhile, Adi takes up PG accommodation with an elderly couple Ganapathy (Prakash Raj) and Bhavani. Tara who is an architect goes off for project research to Gujarat and Adi gets on the train to be with her. Once back, Adi and Tara go one step further and get into a live-in relationship. Of course, Ganapathy is surprised, but Tara wins over Bhavani aunty with a beautiful rendition.

Of course, it’s all fun and love till Tara decides to go to Paris and Adi decides to fly to the US to become the next Steve Jobs.

The rest of the film shows how Adi and Tara decide to take their relationship further. Or will they go their separate ways?

Artistes’ Performances:
Technically, Ok Kanmani or Ok Bangaram is Dulquer Salmaan’s 17th film. But for the Telugu audiences, the film marks his debut. And one has to confess, he is a delight. He is the perfect Adi and his body language, his facial expressions and his entire persona is simply irresistible and charming. Apparently, he had refused Dil Raju’s Telugu film offer saying he wants to concentrate on Malayalam. But you are only left wishing he does more films in Telugu. Girls will surely drool over Adi for a very long time to come.

Nithya again is the perfect Tara. She is anything but your usual size zero heroine who is tall and slim. Yet, her face has a charm and sensuousness that is what Tara is all about. She dresses really well and in keeping with her character and is a perfect pair to Adi.

Prakash Raj. He does not require any reviews. But he totally lives his part as Ganapathy. He is a delight every time he comes on screen and this movie is no exception.

The lady who plays Bhavani is another beautiful find, who plays her part as the Alzheimer’s patient realistically.

The rest of the cast have also been well picked and they do their job well.

Technical Excellence:
Mani Ratnam returns after a long gap and there were apprehensions about Ok Bangaram as his past films haven’t done too well at the box office. But some directors fall into the ‘Masters’ category due to their expertise and after watching Ok Bangaram, the audiences are subtly reminded of the sense and sensibilities that make him a master of his craft.

One of the biggest pluses of the film is the casting. You surely wouldn’t have wanted a different Adi or Tara or Ganapathy or Bhavani.

Music is by AR Rahman and he gives a soulful and beautiful album once again for Mani Ratnam. Their personal friendship is translated into beautiful numbers by Rahman and the songs will stay on the charts for some weeks. From the peppy Mana mana mental madhilo to an Islamic rendition he puts in when Tara and Adi visit a monument in Ahmedabad, Rahman really shows much he cares for his mentor and friend Mani Ratnam.

AR Rahman sings the original Mana mana mental manadhil in the Tamil version. Krishna Chaitanya sings the Telugu version, though his version is not very impressive when one listens to the audio, it sits well in the movie.

Cinematography is by PC Sreeram and once again one does not have to talk about his genius. It is surely self explanatory.

Another person who has done a beautiful job is editor Sreekar Prasad who keeps the film at just the perfect length.

Yes, last but not the least, Nani dubs for Dulquer and he is sheer delight.

Highlights:

  • Dulquer Salmaan
  • Nithya
  • Mani Ratnam
  • Rahman’s music

Drawbacks:

  • We will skip that one

Analysis:
A love story is a love story. But the beauty of a love story is in the way it is narrated to the audience, in the language they relate to.

Mani Ratnam’s films have always been about love. Though he touches upon other contemporary and contentious issues, love has always been the backdrop of his stories, be it Roja, Mumbai, Dil Se, Saathiya…

In Ok Bangaram, Mani tells a love story once again, but touches upon the issues that concern the new-age couples. By new-age, he does not mean the 20-something boys and girls. To him, they are two people in love spanning various age groups who continue to love each other despite the problems that life throws at them.

While he tackles the issue of live-in relationships and the choices that the youngsters of today have to make to find and keep love, through Ganapathy and Bhavani, he touches upon the new-age reality of Alzheimer’s disease that is taking away many lively souls.

Now, before you yawn or jump to the conclusion that is yet another preachy tear-jerker talking of the beauty of love, then please stop.

Ok Bangaram is Mani Ratnam’s way of saying that his age does not stop him from telling a heart-touching and realistic love story that is the reality of today’s youngsters.

From his earlier Bombay, Mani Ratnam shows the city’s transformation into Mumbai, a transition he wants his audiences to experience through his latest film. His special touch also comes in the form of the game that Adi develops in the film, which is quite smartly called Mumbai 2.0. Now, do we need to say more?

Ok Bangaram is a beautiful watch and you will not regret walking into the theatres.

Bottomline: Love surely makes life beautiful

(Venkat can be reached venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews)

Click here for Telugu review

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