If you thought Teja’s worst was yet to come, you’re perhaps mature. If you think nothing will ever be Teja’s worst, you’re perhaps enlightened.
With Oka V Chitram, Teja shows again how little he cares for thought and logic in films. In Nuvvu Nenu
, Teja gambled on the fact that Telugu audiences do not ask questions about how a hero wins, as long as he wins. When in doubt about that, think of that scene in Jayam where the hero lands in a brutally-armed fortress bang at 7 o’ clock, just as promised to his girl and the enemies, and there is simply no explanation for how he pulled it off. But, ah, that would require thought.
With those movies, Teja operated on the periphery of even risk-taking, where there was a 5% chance of success. Music, comedy and (basically) karma delivered on the 5%. Unfortunately, that taught Teja all the wrong lessons. Instead of realizing that he got lucky on the periphery and needed to move towards the center and make more thoughtful and creative films, he thought he’ll experiment with some risk-taking now, stretching his view on the credulousness of his audiences, and his inability to think up credible plots, much further.
Oka V Chitram is easily one of the most ridiculous movies made anywhere. If you think the title is innovative, you are perhaps the target audience. Even that, however, won’t prepare you for the sheer inanity of what you find inside the theater.
Balaram (Pradeep Pinishetty), a big movie buff, is ridiculed by some friends that he doesn’t understand movies, and that he should try making a movie himself before commenting on them. He is quite crestfallen, and vows that he will make a film by next year’s Deepavali and show everyone. He steals his poor mother’s gold and lands in Hyderabad.
He writes a script keeping his favorite actor Santosh Babu in mind, but the latter spurns him abjectly, saying he won’t make films with newcomers. He attempts suicide, but when his mother castigates him for being a coward, he swears he’ll make a movie with Santosh Babu and release it before Diwali, and even tells Santosh Babu the same.
A great interval point for any movie. However, this is a Teja flick. The man who makes his teen heroes beat up 20 goons single-handedly when they get cornered, instead of coming out of the situation smartly. Smartness is to a Teja flick as smartness is to dumbness.
Over the next few weeks, Balaram lines up his friends and a cameraman using hidden cameras to get Santosh Babu into various different situations in his daily routine, and does a collage of those to create a movie – including duets with tons of group dancers and all – and makes that a superhit.
No, really. You can try this with Chiranjeevi next.
The movie is hailed as the best ever of Santosh Babu, and all attempts by the latter to stall its release fail. To see what all can happen in a Teja film, you should hear the judgement given by a court that upholds the release despite Santosh Babu claiming he did not act in the film and that he was filmed without his knowledge.
Oka V Chitram would have perhaps worked if it were made to be a comedy or a spoof – however, Teja’s purpose is to show how a determined young man battles all odds to do what he wants. And this is how he does it.
To talk about how absurd it is is to actually demean ourselves and our readers, and to dignify this film, but still, here goes.
A movie has 2 hours of running time, and some 200 scenes that have the hero in them. Various scenes have various settings, various dialogues and various co-actors. Scenes from one location to another have to blend in terms of co-actors and dialogues. You are trying to achieve all this without the hero even realizing it.
It requires enormous thought to convince your audiences of how this was pulled off. On screen, what you see is the gang filming 4 assorted scenes that have nothing in common, and finally releasing it as a coherent movie that is actually hailed by critics and audiences alike. As is his wont, Teja doesn’t explain anything.
To cut a long story short, this one is the epitome of Teja’s assessment of his audiences.
To also give credit where it’s due, the performances are all quite good, as is always the case with Teja’s films even when those cast are all newcomers (Uday Kiran being the lone exception). The film is active at all times, and there are plenty of innovative comic moments. It’s just for these that the rating has an extra half.