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Oh Baby Review

Oh Baby
T J Reddy / fullhyd.com
EDITOR RATING
6.5
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
9.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Suggestions
Can watch again
No
Good for kids
Yes
Good for dates
Yes
Wait to rent it
No
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

From times immemorial, most of our stories have required good guys to win and bad guys to lose. Most of our stories have been required to offer us a rosier view of the world around us by making poetic/karmic justice a key plot device. We reuse these tropes and devices time and time again simply because they eventually lead to outcomes and morals we cherish.

Baby (Lakshmi) is no different from most of our protagonists. She is a misunderstood woman with a heart of gold and the mouth of a sailor who is in equal parts overbearing and kind. The change incorporated into this character archetype in B V Nandini Reddy's newest film is that our protagonist is a 70-year-old grandmother. Her presence looms large at her home and at her workplace, which soon smothers her daughter-in-law to a point where the latter has a stroke. Unable to cope with Baby's archaic ways, the family makes the tough call to keep her away from them.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

A heartbroken Baby rues her fate and curses the big man above. In a tearful monologue, she exposits that God consistently took everything she loved from her, and in a final act of consistency, took her family away from her as well. As a response to this outcry, God takes a few minutes off from his busy schedule and returns Baby's youth to her. Now, Baby (Samantha Akkineni) has a chance to right her wrongs and live the life she always wanted. Nobody puts Baby in a corner, indeed.

She goes about this in the most predictable way possible, but what make the difference are the film's Rajamundry-powered dialogues. There is a freshness associated with a woman speaking with that dialect, and it instantly separates her from the myriad of other interchangeable female protagonists we are treated to on a weekly basis. Baby is a combination of naivete and street-smarts, and the movie expertly blends her character traits with its screenplay.

Every other character is required to play a foil to Baby's manic energy, but their interactions with Baby are not limited to that alone. When the screenplay gives these characters an opportunity to supersede Baby, each of them has a few nuggets of wonderfully worded poignancy to offer to the audience and to each other. Specifically, the sage advice Rao Ramesh's Nani offers his son is almost worth the price of admission.

But as we said before, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For all its sharp dialogue and funny set-pieces, Oh! Baby's script lacks a genuine sense of unpredictability. Any film-goer with a basic understanding of traditional narrative structure would be checking off plot points on this script 15 minutes before they wind up on the big screen. Add to this the massive dumps of exposition and convenience-riddled storytelling, and soon Oh! Baby's lack of ambition becomes all the more apparent.

The movie works only from the prism of the younger breed in the audience empathising with the old and not the other way around. Baby's youth does not result in her seeing the world through her daughter-in-law's and granddaughter's eyes. She goes around lecturing boys and girls about how they ought to behave instead of asking herself the question "Have I kept up with the times?", or more pertinently, "Are my children's and grandchildren's wishes all that different when compared to mine?".

These lapses in logic are far too common in our stories. The stories tend to dictate morals to us instead of employing us to draw our own conclusions. Did filmmakers the world over not get the memo from Eames in Inception? People need to feel like they came up with an idea. That is the only way it will stick with them.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

9 years since her debut, only Samantha's last name has changed - her likeability and talent remain at the same dizzying heights. She is as important to you connecting to Baby as a character as the writing and directing are. She helps you come to terms with the pricklier aspects of Baby's personality with her effervescent smile and pitch-perfect histrionics.

Speaking of histrionics, you cannot watch this film and not fall in love with Rajendra Prasad's delightful portrayal of Chanti (Baby's childhood friend). Samantha and Rajendra Prasad share a relationship and chemistry that is hard to duplicate and ignore. Their sub-plot acts as a conduit to Chanti's past (a clever way to circumvent a needless flashback), and the resolution their arc gets is a showcase of Nandini Reddy operating at the height of her powers.

Speaking of which, the movie is at its best when two people sit across a table and talk to each other. Nandini Reddy has a way of making an audience the proverbial fly on the wall. However, the film's more technical aspects are not without their flaws. In more than one instance, the movie dubs in lines even though the actors' lips are firmly shut, and complex shots are not all executed with the same élan every time. This results in a visual experience where a sense of dissonance is palpable.

Consequently, Baby's throughline is tasked with keeping the film from coming apart at its seams. The peppy soundtrack, retro-themed costumes and bright colours keep the story from running itself into the ground. However, with the movie failing to fire on all cylinders, the stronger parts don't pile onto each other to become a satisfying whole. That makes Oh! Baby enjoyable but not very memorable.

It is the very definition of most art. It is an imitation of an imitation of an imitation which reminds us of the morals and stories we know and love without ever challenging us to look beyond our comfort zones. However, the boy who played the young Indrasena Reddy is all grown-up now. He caught a sword by the blade during his days as a young whipper-snapper, and now Baby helps him achieve his goals. She (and anyone else who helps him) has our support.

The more things change, the more our love for that kid remains the same.
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OH BABY SNAPSHOT
Oh Baby (telugu) reviews
USER RATING
9.0
2 USERS
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OH BABY USER REVIEWS
USER RATING
9.0
2 USERS
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
10.0
8.0
3.0
10.0
Can watch again - Yes
Good for kids - Yes
Good for dates - Yes
Wait to rent it - No
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