Okka Kshanam Review
'Okka Kshanam', starring Allu Sirish, Surabhi, Seerat Kapoor and Avasarala Srinivas in key roles, hits the screens. Here is our review.
Jeeva (Sirish) bumps into Jyotsna (Surabhi) at a mall. It's almost love at first sight for them. They hit it off and become prospective bride and groom.
This is when Jyo introduces Jeeva to a newly-wed, ever-quarreling couple, namely, Srinivas (Avasarala Srinivas) and Swathi (Seerat Kapoor). Jyo presumes that Swathi is in unsafe hands because Srinivas is a psychotic husband. Jeeva assures her of knowing what is wrong with the couple.
This is what brings him close to Srinivas, who constantly frequents a psychiatric clinic and a bar. When he is drunken, he shares his love story with Jeeva, who is astounded by the fact that his love story bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Srinivas's.
It's not just parallelism but double parallelism. If what Srinivas is to Jeeva, Swathi is to Jyo. Jyo now trembles at the prospect of ending up being harassed and even murdered by Jeeva. It's now up to Jeeva to prove her fears wrong.
The second half is about what exactly Jeeva does to prevent an inevitable future from happening to him and his girlfriend. The twist in the tale is when a crime sub-plot is introduced.
Director Vi Anand delves into the hitherto unexplored concept of Parallel Life with a fair amount of success. The intertwining of the four lives is narrated in a lighter-veined manner in the first half. The way Avasarala explains to the hero his love story evokes curiosity, especially the amusing bar song.
If Surabhi keeps interest in people-watching, comedian Sathya is a cunning thief who poses as a cleanliness activist. Comedian Praveen plays Puppy, a henpecked husband. Jayaprakash as a professor does the honours of explaining how parallelism was evident in the lives of Abraham Lincoln and JF Kennedy. As for Rohini and Kashi Viswanath, both of whom play the hero's parents, they do with some inconsequential moments.
The story does well to pit destiny against will. While it's predictable that the hero would choose to script his own success story, how he does is the crux of the second half. So far, so good.
But when the crime angle makes its way into the story, we know that it's yet another story of cat-and-mouse chases involving a ruthless businessman and a lone fighter. In fact, this becomes the main story, making the concept of parallelism nothing more than a creative spin in retrospect.
Arun Dasari's character comes with this quirk of Telugu-language patriotism. Why a villain should have this is not known, but it's no new-age school thought for sure. The second half is also sought to be salvaged by such idiosyncracies as Praveen's incompetence and the comedy of Sathya, Viva Harsha and Sudarshan. All these props go only thus far in making 'Okka Kshanam' an engaging one.
The hero's pathos are conveyed through the song 'Gundello Sudulu'. The intensity of this song re-appears only in the climax where the heroine has to brave death. The scene where the mother (read Rohini) tells Sirish about how he was born against the predictions of astrologers should have been replaced with Sirish telling Surabhi about how his mother always tells him about how he braved destiny by the very act of being born! The impact would have been much greater.
The Mega hero has doubtless matured as an actor from his previous films. The references to Megastar Chiranjeevi, Allu Arjun and an 'Agnyaathavaasi' line ('Veedi charyalu oohatheetham') are for obvious reasons. Seerat Kapoor, who gets a pride of place in the second half, is convincing. Surabhi as a bespectacled lover-girl, does her part well. Avasarala passes muster. Arun Dasari in a baddie's role looks like Sudheer Babu in his demeanor to an extent and he carries himself well.
Mani Sharma's songs, mainly 'So Many' and 'Gundello Sudulu', are good. The BGM is apt. Shyam K Naidu's cinematography captures the frames well.
The main plot is old school, but the Parallel Life spin is new school. The cat-and-mouse chase storyline is nothing novel, but it's the idea of two lovers racing against time to avert what is in store in their fate is what makes 'Okka Kshanam' worth a watch. Don't expect a gripping screenplay.