'Oxygen', starring Gopichand, Jagapathi Babu, Raashi Khanna and Anu Emmanuel in lead roles, hits the screens. Here is our review:
Krishna Prasad (Gopichand), an orphan from America, arrives in India to marry Shruti (Raashi Khanna), the doting daughter of Raghupathi (Jagapathi Babu).
Now, this Raghupathi has a very close-knit family (a brother played by Abhimanyu Singh, Brahmaji, son Kick Shyam, among others), who come across as brilliantly soft-natured. They all face a threat to their lives from Shayaji Shinde and a bigger threat from an unknown gang, who have already killed a family member.
The hero comes across as their saviour and an embodiment of all the Mr. Perfect traits. Just as Raghupathi plans to give his daughter in marriage to the hero, there comes a mind-blowing twist. Krishna Prasad is not what he seems to be.
Who is he and what is he hiding from the heroine's family? What is his agenda? Answers to the questions are found in the flashback, where Anu Emmanuel makes an entry as a micro-biologist.
Director Jyothi Krishna comes equipped with a dreadfully formulaic story whose Achilles's Heels is not difficult to decipher. Once the interval twist is over and the film gets into a flashback mode, it's a repetition of the jaded ideas of an unethical business ruining lives, murderous gangs on a rampage and the one-man army's fight against them.
Gopichand's two shades don't help either. He turns out to be an army man named Sanjeev and since he has to be shown to be fighting against a fake cigarette making company on his own, incredible cinematic liberties are taken at the first opportunity. It's laughable that nobody knows whether the cigarettes are manufactured in India at all!
When he has to get the people's moral support, the hero enriches 50 lakh people across the country by transferring them Rs. 5000 each and the scenes play out like a colossal joke. Ashish Vidhyarthi, a cop wanting to know who is behind the illegal Direct Benefit Transfer, puts up a prohibitively lame show.
In one of the early scenes, our hero reduces himself to a joke when he holds hallucinating conversations his dead parents to a pointless effect. Raashi looks out-of-place as a village belle who hates the America 'sambandham' and so tries all tricks in the book to stave off the hero. Since he is a gentleman, she could just have told him to leave India upfront. It's not like he loves only the desi water, for he can drink the water of any world river. Promise, he almost says it in a scene.
Jagapathi Babu, as someone who falls in love with the hero (because he loves all things Indian!) even before the heroine is reduced to a caricature sooner than later. Kick Shyam plays that gutsy brother who convinces his sister to wear bangles in a 'jatara' amidst fighting off knife-wielding villains. In retrospect, this characterization turns out to be eminently unintelligent.
Since they are hardly integral to the story, it would have helped greatly had Shayaji Shinde and his henchmen been shown as jokers. That would have reduced the burden on Ali's shoulders of delivering the laughs. In the entire first half, whenever the baddies are shown, they are in 'Yesei.. Yesei' mode (read 'Let's kill them').
Gopichand's intense performance scores marks. He is convincing as an actor. Compared to 'Gautham Nanda', his dialogue-delivery style is understated. His chemistry with the heroines is sketchy. Jagapathi and others merely pass muster, coming as they do with largely ill-etched roles.
Yuvan Shankar Raja's music works with respect to the hero-Anu duet and the hero-hailing song. The cinematography and Chinna's BGM are good.
A formulaic story that delivers a huge twist at interval. Predictability in the post-interval phase and the bombardment of the clichés could have been avoided.