Okka Kshanam review: A mixed bag
The newness suggested by the teaser and trailer is a running theme only in the first half
Thursday 28 December 2017
Allu Sirish, Surabhi, Seerat Kapoor, Avasarala Srinivas, Dasari Arun Kumar, JP, Kasi Vishwnath, Rohini, Praveen
When they meet at a mall by happenstance, Jeeva (Sirish) and Jyotsna (Surbhi) fall in love, much to the surprise of their family (Rohini and Kashi Vishwanath are the hero's parents, while comedian Praveen is the heroine's funny 'bava' named Puppy).
Their lives seem to be going smooth. But a jarring note is struck by the lives of Srinivas (Avasarala Srinivas) and Swathi (Seerat Kapoor), a married couple and neighbours of Jyo. She notices that something is wrong in their lives. They are constantly bickering and arguing.
Jyo's concern for Swathi prompts Jeeva to find out what is going on the lives of Srinivas and his wife. This is when he learns from Srinivas that he met Swathi for the first time in the same way as Jeeva met Jyo. Every key happening in the lives of the lead pair happened in the lives of Srinivas and Swathi.
This parallel pattern is what worries Jyo. Since everything in her life has been happening the same way as it happens in Swathi's life, will she also have differences with Jeeva in future? Will Jeeva harass her? Is she destined to meet the same fate as Swathi? Not if Jeeva becomes the maker of his own destiny. He will now find out the mysterious developments in Swathi's life and duck any existential threat to his lover.
The makers have tried to hard-sell the concept of Parallel Life. The entire first half hinges on this one element. And the concept does have its own parallel. It's in the Korean movie Parallel Life (2010) but this is not exactly copy either.
Vi Anand keeps the proceedings lively even while presenting the hero with several questions. Every time Avasarala narrates his life story and Sirish is puzzled by the similarities, it's meant to evoke some fun.
The 20-minute-long stretch leading to the interval bang is gripping. The concept of parallelism comes into its own here, with a science professor (played by Jayaprakash) aggravating the heroine's fears about her future. "Don't try to fight your destiny; if you do so, it will get worse," the professor warns. Very curious for a man of science to say so!
The element of people-watching (Surbhi's character has this interest in sneaking into other peoples' lives and that's how she spots Swathi and her hubby) reminds us of Alfred Hitchcock's classic movie Rear Window.
In the second half, the plot of an unscrupulous corporate hospital and a character's lone crusade against it is introduced. This boring element is as old as hills. From the moment the crime story is introduced, Okka Kshanam takes the beaten route of hero vs villain theme. Parallelism once again makes a re-entry in the climax segment, where an accident happening at the Clock Tower comes with an unmistakable Manam hangover.
Sathya and Praveen get below-par characters. Arun Dasari as the prime antagonist talks like an old-school villain. It's not convincing why he too should believe in the destiny theory. Even if he should, why does he want to take chances? There is no gusto in the fights.
Allu Sirish surely has improved a lot. He carries himself well in the story-oriented scenes rather than the typical rom-com ones. His acting in the climax is a bit matured.
Surbhi looks good but she doesn't evoke fear in us when she fears for her life. She provides enough skin show with liberal dose of exhibition of thighs. Seerat Kapoor's character makes a bounce back in the second half. However, with her bad acting, she almost robs the character of its sheen.
Avasarala is just about OK. After Gentleman and Babu Baga Busy, he plays an atypical one. Arun Dasari, Sathya, Praveen, Raghu Karamanchi, Prabhas Sreenu and others add no much value.
Okka Kshanam is a mixed package. The newness suggested by the teaser and trailer is a running theme only in the first half. In the second half, be prepared to watch a routine crime story. Though the theme of 'Parallel Life' has novelty, the narration lacks consistency, only middle portion is interesting. Even at 140 minutes, it's quite lengthy. For Allu Sirish, this film might help.
Okka Kshanam review: 2.75 stars