Oosaravelli had it’s first showing on Thursday, so perhaps it wasn’t too surprising that the cinema was only a third full for the Friday night showing. We still had an appreciative audience in Melbourne with a few whistles for Tarak’s entrance and plenty of laughs at the comedy dialogue, but it was generally more subdued than we’ve become accustomed to in our regular adventures without subtitles.
Oosaravelli is basically a revenge movie. It takes a while to get to the explanation but the set up is entertaining and both Tarak and Tamanna make an impression. Tarak is Tony – he has his name helpfully tattooed on his neck just in case he ever forgets, or maybe it’s a concession to help those of us who don’t understand Telugu and are occasionally confused as to who is who by the fast paced dialogue. We start by learning the anatomy of the human body with an animation which I think is supposed to imply that Tony is a man with all the right parts to be the ultimate hero, or maybe it really was just a quick biology lesson while waiting for the hero’s entrance.
Tony is a man with a large collection of scarves and bandannas who seems to be a small time thug with big time ambition. He meets Niharika (Tamanna) in Kashmir where they have both been kidnapped by insurgents who seem determined to dispose of their hostages one by one. Tony helps Niharika escape but rather carelessly loses her as they run off into the forest. Later, back in Hyderabad, Tony has tracked Niharika down only to find that she is in love with a guy called Rakesh, who is less than impressed with Tony’s appearance.
Along the way Tony has various dealings with a gang of the usual suspects including Jayaprakash Reddy and Murli Sharma who are united in their truly dreadful fashion sense, although the pink stripped shirt with teddy bears was a favourite. This stylishness doesn’t last though as Tony moulds them into ‘Men in Black’ after beating them up with a bag full of baseball bats – just as his father showed him. Back when he was alive that is. The gang is further intimidated when the ghost of Tony’s father turns up to join in a drinking session but after that, ghost dad is eerily silent until part of the explanation for events later on in the second half. We do get some bedazzled ninja backing dancers though as some compensation.
Tony continues his pursuit of Niharika by getting her evicted from her flat and then setting her up in his house. They decide to be ‘just friends’ although Niharika’s friend Chitra (Payal Ghosh) is sure this is a bad idea. Sure enough Tony finds out that Rakesh is a bad guy and is up-to-no-good. He’s in league with his uncle, don Azzu Bhai (Prakash Raj), and along with his father and friend is involved in some shady deals including arms and diamond smuggling. There is a brief glimpse of CinemaChaat favourite Ajay before he is sadly disposed of but otherwise every usual bad guy seems to turn up as a member of one gang or another. For some reason one of Tony’s gang turns against him and delivers him up to Rakesh as the wannabe don who’s muscling in on their territory. Right about now is when Tony turns from a mildly affable joker to a totally psychotic killer who wipes out the entire gang in a matter of minutes with some impressive moves with a mallet. I was also suitably amazed by the hook which didn’t manage to tear through Tony’s shirt collar, but moments later was put to good use to impale one of the villains.
Just when we think – yay – crazy killer Tarak and wait for more blood to spill without really caring why, it all starts to make sense as there is a flashback revealing exactly who Niharika is and the reason for Tony’s involvement in the first place. But then it’s back to annihilation of all the bad guys although it’s not always clear if they are actually dead or not as a few people take a lot of killing. And death is not at all well diagnosed even by the medical professionals involved.
The highlight of the film is definitely Tamanna. She is excellent in all her different personas throughout the film – as the ditzy fashion designer and girlfriend, the harrowed victim and as the vengeful sister. She has real passion and belief in her character and it shows. A truly brilliant performance from her which also includes some excellent dance moves. It’s hard to compete with Tarak who is such an excellent dancer, but she manages to draw eyes away from him in a couple of songs.
Generally the soundtrack is enjoyable although Devi Sri Prasad has recycled one of his songs from the recent Dhanush starrer Venghai in Dandiya India. Tarak is good as the deranged killer Tony who has a soft spot for Niharika and seems to manage the switch between comedy and action well judging by the audience reaction. Payal Ghosh is also excellent as Niharika’s friend and it does seem as if the girls get the better dialogues and story-line this time round. A lot of the comedy centres on Tony’s gang of thugs and without understanding the dialogue I found this tended to drag. It was also slightly disappointing when ghost dad failed to make a reappearance after a promising beginning.
There are quite a few funny moments which probably aren’t supposed to be funny – such as Tony trying to hide behind a see through curtain, and where people who are dead manage come back to life to manage that one last important sentence. Or in the case of Tony’s dad, a 3 page monologue. It’s a fun film with plenty of action and blood. But even better it has a heroine who actually gets a proper story and gets to do something more than just look pretty. More of that please.