Oppam – Review:
Cast: Mohanlal, Samuthirakani, Nedumudi Venu, Baby Meenakshi, Vimala Raman, Anusree, Chemban Vinod, Aju Varghese.
Music: 4 Music.
Background Score: Ron Ethan Yohann
Coming from the successful actor – director combo of Mohanlal – Priyadarshan who’ve given more than 30 movies together, and the Promos featuring Mohanlal in a visually challenged role in a thriller setting, Oppam had decent expectations of a perfect comeback from the combo post their last dud Geethanjali. So,is Oppam the perfect Onam treat from them?
Plot and Performances :
Visually challenged Jayaraman (Mohanlal), works in a posh apartment as a lift operator, and is the most trusted person for Ex-Chief Justice Krishnamoorthy (Nedumudi Venu), one of the residents of the apartment. He reveals Jayaraman, a secret about his daughter Nandhini, and an impending threat faced by them. One fine day, Krishnamoorthy gets killed, and the police suspect Jayaraman. Being someone with a high sense of smell, touch and sound, Jayaraman senses the killer somewhere around him always, but isn’t able to get hold of him. With his visual challenge, was Jayaraman able to identify the killer on the run, protect Nandhini, while also proving himself innocent to the cops is what Oppam is all about.
Mohanlal has lived as Jayaraman, and makes his visually challenged act totally believable. Be it his body language or the subtle emotions exhibited, Mohanlal’s natural performance is sure to make the audience connect with the character emotionally. Samuthirakani is a surprise package here, with his evil smile and menacing looks, though the dubbing mars the impact, especially in the sequences in the parking slot and the climax. Baby Meenakshi impresses with her lively,cute act, and veteran Nedumudi Venu is cast in a template role that forms the crux of the movie. As an intelligent cop, Anusree is adequate, while Chemban Vinod and Aju Varghese evoke few laughs in the otherwise serious movie. Renji Panicker is wasted in extremely insignificant role that doesn’t require an actor of his caliber, while Vimala Raman has nothing much to do except looking sad.
Music and Technical Departments :
Ron Ethan Yohann’s BGM is top notch, and perfectly sets the mood for an interesting mystery drama. Of the songs by 4 Music, Minungum passes the muster. Cinematography by N.K.Ekambaram beautifully captures the breathtaking Hilly locales, and makes the dark thriller, a colorful product. The stunning climax sequence shot in darkness, with fireworks, deserves a special mention.While Ayyappan Nair completely holds grip over the tight second half, the editing is a letdown in the first half.
After several forgettable outings post the blockbuster Drishyam, Lalettan has joined hands with his lucky charm Priyadarshan for Oppam, and the maker hasn’t let him down completely. With an interesting premise and a peculiar characterization that ups the thrill factor in this cat and mouse chase game, Oppam must have given the adrenaline rush, but moves in a leisurely pace instead. Having revealed the killer and his cliched, predictable motive much earlier in the mystery drama, Priyadarshan decides to proceeds with a not so engaging screenplay in the first half,that just drags. All the 3 songs of Oppam could have been done away with, for, they just hamper the pace of the movie, reducing the thrill quotient. However the second half compensates for all that, with a gripping screenplay, twists and sequences where Jayaraman and the killer outwit each other, making the chase interesting(There are glimpses of Drishyam here too,as Lalettan is dealt by the cops in a similar way). Priyadarshan has made sure, Oppam is a technically rich venture with beautiful cinematography and Ron Ethan Yohann’s BGM that perfectly complements the movie. All said, Mohanlal’s towering screen presence, the engaging second half with some interesting moments, and the whole case of the protagonist sensing the presence of the antagonist around him always, yet unable to get hold of him, keeps the audience hooked. An Onam offering that appeals in parts.
VERDICT: Mohanlal and an engaging second half make Oppam worth a watch.