It's Okkadu's sheer audacity to have Rayalaseema as its backdrop and yet not
meander into factionalism, have a cute couple yet not make it look like a dumb
Valentine's card, and have adrenaline action and yet not make it look like a potboiler,
that makes it a dapper of a movie.
Mahesh tries to undo the damage that Bobby
did to his career. If he's lucky, he'll be back in the reckoning with Okkadu,
a movie that shears across the three basic storylines in Tollywood to come out
as an offbeat idea with quaint romance, slick action and a simple storyline.
Ajay (Mahesh) can't resist the idea of playing hero to Swapna (Bhoomika) when she is being tortured by bad guy Obul Reddy (Prakash Raj). He rescues her from Reddy only to get involved in a deadly cat-and-mouse game with the latter and his cohorts.
Swapna has to leave the country to escape from the clutches of Reddy who lusts after her and nurses a grudge against her due to old family enmity. But now that Ajay is off with Swapna promising her to send her overseas safely, Reddy and gang are baying for not just her blood but for Ajay's too, for insulting the big bad Reddy.
What starts off a simple macho act drags Ajay into the dark underbelly of this whole mayhem. That Ajay's Dad is a cop hunting for the missing girl and her dude adds to the excitement. Ajay sticks to his guns and, yeah, saves the girl too.
Like any self-respecting Telugu movie, Okkadu doesn't end just there. After some contrived scenes, you are shown Swapna coming back running to him and vowing to get married to him. Our man now does the honours of beating the Reddy guy to seek her hand.
The last half hour, the post-Airport part, could have been easily dispensed with, but then that still leaves the story without a rousing climax. So there we have a completely redundant grand finale that robs the movie of a half star in the rating.
Mahesh looks chilled out throughout though he displays the necessary 'heroism' when he has to with his intense looks. Bhoomika just has to look scared all the time so as to make her hero look more macho. While the two don't have any heavyduty romance, their love story does have its moments. The maverick and mad Reddy is cakewalk for Prakash Raj, but somehow the Kurnool accent just doesn't sound right when he talks.
The humor, too, is very wry and polished. Just plain word play. Even the traditional romantic scenes get a new look. For instance, instead of the guy chivalrously donating his leather jacket to the girl in the cold, she gives away her duppatta to him!
Surprisingly, there has been sudden upsurge of cool things in Tollywood. Apparently,
being a sports junkie (Mahesh is a Kabaddi champ in this one), being buddies with
Daddy and hanging out at Charminar are all considered chillingly cool (Eshwar
etc). Good for a state which has been obsessed with EAMCET all the
while and thinks Switzerland is only place where songs can be shot.
Mani Sharma's music is melody personified. The songs flow like a dream, and for the first time, you actually hum when the songs are on. Mahesh's opening solo, Cheppave Chirugali, and Nuvve Maaya Chesavo are neat and catchy. Director Gunasekhar lives up to his name of being a classy director.
Tollywood is in a state of flux with the upsurge of new starts, music and sleeker
storylines. If movies like Khadgam
and Okkadu are anything to go by, sunny days are here again for Telugu movie buffs.