Ongolu Gittha is a kind of film which should have been made for the Tamil audience, and dubbed later into Telugu after it did modest business in the state of TN (but even then, it would not have connected to us). To be fair to Bhaskar, he does leave his mark at places, but overall, the film is a letdown. Bhaskar is one of the few directors who is a dab hand at portraying the main characters with a tinge of peculiarity that are mainly found in novels. Here he does seem to disguise an oldish story in the garb of unique narration, but he fails miserably in making it a fascinating journey, and it is difficult to find a Telugu audience who would find the film a worthy watch.
The story, on the face of it, has the usual tit-for-tat angle. There is a flashback, there is the hero whose street-smartness is dealt with in a disinteresting fashion, his heroine does nothing but show either embarrassment or her navel or both. Above all, GV Prakash Kumar's tacky tunes do not give impetus to songs, most of which come unwelcomed.
The opening scene proves that the director had not done his home work properly (surprising, especially because he had handled more ambitious sequences in Parugu well deftly). As a child, Ram arrives at the Ongolu michi yard, calmly and confidently making money big time in a jiffy. He grows up to be someone who is looked up to for his honesty, guts and business sense.
The yard's beloved chairman, played by Prakash Raj (he is the one and only lovable actor of OG), is the other most important character. The two scenes that raise the pitch in first half are those in which Ram and PR's other side is revealed. The scene in the center of the yard, involving Ram, PR, Ahuthi Prasad (is an MLA)and the farmers, is another well-written scene.
After PR's true character is revealed, the story has no more twists and turns. It is not bad in itself, and if you have an able dialogue writer and good actors, the director should justifiably make it a mature drama (with action thrown in here and there) to keep the audience glued. Unfortunately, the scenes - be it those between the hero and the villain, the hero and his father (Prabhu gets good screen time), the hero and his girl - weaved in the second half fall flat. For heaven's sake, there should have been a defining moment involving the heroine and her villainous father.
Despite its unexciting plot, OG presents some elements which stand testimony to Bhaskar's directorial touch. The pre-interval fight-song interlude (shot in lush greenery), which has Ram bashing up the baddies and a drunken Prabhu singing his song oblivious of who is saving him from death, deserves kudos. In a Tamil Nadu theatre, it would have been received with cheers. PR wearing a fake smile to camouflage his menacing nature, and he beautifying his face by applying fairness cream and powder after every episode of villainy, is splendid.
Though it is anyone's guess as to who will win the battle finally, the screenplay leading up to the denouement is below par.
With comedy failing to enthuse, there is no redeeming element in sight. Kishore Das (famous for anchoring adult programmes on tv) gets to play the hero's sidekick, and one wonders what he is doing here when he suits best to be Maruthi's actor. Ali never looked worse when he wore a women's attire. He could have been totally avoided.
Ram was definitely better in Kandireega and Endukante Premanta. While Karunakaran helped him show a new side in his last film, Bhaskar, who has extracted three good performances from Sid, Arjun and Cherry, fails to live up to expectations. A creative performance from Prakash Raj deserves appreciation, for it comes at a time when the versatile actor has been seen to be playing routine characters. Krithi Karbanda looks attractive but she has nothing much to do.
Ahuthi Prasad, Abhimanyu Singh and JP fit the bill.
The BG score by Mani Sharma is alright. One feels that he disappoints with his songs, always and almost. The cinematographer shows flashes of brilliance at places.
Verdict: Blighted by an oldish story and a narration and a nativity that don't gel with our tastes, Ongolu Gittha rather looks like a failed experiment.