Okkadu (2003)

  • Written by Gunasekhar
  • Directed by Gunasekhar

   Repeat Value : 9 / 10     

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Okkadu - Movie Highlights

For the same very reasons that you hate a Telugu movie, you will find a movie which you will love with all the regular ingredients that constitute a mass film. And there is nothing wrong in it, after all the audience wants to see their favorite hero do all sorts of things to keep them entertained. And the icing on the cake is that the other film industries Q up to remake the very same formula film. Its remakes speak volumes about its viability and acceptance. The film was remade in Tamil as Ghilli (2004), in Kannada as Ajay(2006), in Bengali as Jor, in Odia as Mate Aanidela Lakhe Phaguna and very late in Hindi as Tevar(2015). (An earlier remake called Ranveer starring Abhishek Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt to be directed by Rajkumar Santoshi was launched with much fanfare, but was never shot). So the sum of all this is that Okkadu(The One) still remains as one of the best films of its genre which then garnered eight Nandi Awards and four Filmfare Awards South, including Filmfare Award for Best Film - Telugu and catapulting Mahesh Babu into instant stardom (and later superstardom with Pokiri). The film, which released in 2003, broke several records in Tollywood then.

Ajay Varma (Mahesh Babu) is a Kabbadi player based in Hyderabad. His disciplinarian police commissioner father (Mukesh Rishi) keeps chiding him for being a Kabbadi player and neglecting studies often comparing with his studious sister Asha (Niharika). But it is his mother (Geetha) who supports him. Ajay once visits Kurnool to take part in a state-level tournament. There incidentally he saves Swapna (Bhoomika Chawla) from Obul Reddy (Prakash Raj),a dangerous faction leader. Actually Obul Reddy loves Swapna and wishes to marry her against her wishes. In the process he has cruelly killed her two brothers who went against him. Unable to bear the torture and as per her father's wish she is about to run from the town later to escape to US. But she is caught by Obul Reddy and his men. At the same time Ajay sees Reddy dragging Swapna towards a car as she's crying and happens to interfere and save her from him. When Ajay saves Swapna, he humiliates Obul by pushing him into a pond filled with mud, thus insulting him in front of everyone that too in his place. They escape after being chased by the goons. Obul Reddy decides and refuses to cleanse the mud until Swapna is found and brought back. What starts off as a simple macho act drags Ajay into the whole mayhem. Ajay then brings her to Hyderabad and takes her to his room through the trap door. And she continues to stay there without anyone's knowledge. His priorities now are to get her a passport and visa so that she can move to the US. While Reddy's gang is on hunt for Swapna and baying for Ajay's blood, on the other hand, the Home Minister who happens to be the brother of Obul Reddy asks ACP to search for Swapna and the guy who has taken her away. When ACP realizes that his own son is behind this entire drama all the hell breaks loose. Ajay and Swapna run away from his home and hide in Charminar. During this time she realizes that she has fallen in love with him, but his only intention is to send her to US. Will they be able to escape from the clutches of Obul Reddy and the Police? What happens in the end when they challenge Obul Reddy forms the crux of the story?

The basic storyline of a film is how a man acts as a guard to a woman and saves her from danger. The story may seem simple but the way the screenplay unfolds make the viewers watch it without any boredom. It has all the regular cliches that one can expect from a commercial entertainer, but it is distinctly different. There are countless number of Telugu films on faction Rayalaseema, but this is distinctly different from them. It's Okkadu's sheer audacity to have Rayalaseema as its backdrop and yet not meander into factionalism. After this film, many made films on the same plot line but they are not even in close range to this. Gunasekhar, the writer/director just keeps a fantastic pace to the entire film, only with minor glitches in the 2nd half when the story doesn't move much and later racing to an awesome climax. Moving beyond the basic story, there's a lot to admire in the screenplay and direction. Surprisingly Mahesh Babu and Bhoomika, in the lead roles are least talkative. The romantic part does have its moments. Many scenes stand out

  1. The first altercation between Ajay and Obul Reddy
  2. A scene were Muslim devotees walking out of a Masjid after Friday prayers and burkha-clad Muslim students trouping out of a women's college from opposite direction create a jam for Ajay and Swapna to mingle and escape is superb.
  3. The climax fight sequence is striking.

As a Director, Gunasekhar has done a great job. Cinematography is one of the outstanding aspects. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is crisp. The set work of the famous Charminar is awesome. Stunts in the film are extraordinary. The stunts have rich technique associated with it, but at the same time they adhere to mass fights. High octane chase and action sequences are the hallmark. It is one of the very few movies where action itself carries the story forward. Especially the car chase is one of the best action packed chases seen in Telugu cinema. Manisarma's music is notable for the background score elevating the drama. All songs narrate the story and the mood of the film. 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna', 'Nuvve Maya Chesavokaani', 'Sahasam Swasaga' and 'Cheppave Chirugaali' are all superbly shot and choreographed.

Okkadu boasts of some power packed performances. Mahesh Babu looks cool. He's likeable as the mischievous son, as the gallant lover, and as the goofy guy next door who transforms into a formidable fighter. Righteous anger, affection for the family, soft romance and agility on the playground, show us a different Mahesh of early days. He plays to the gallery and wins the heart of the masses with his terrific combo of rawness, honesty, simplicity and subtle humour. Without making hero deliver heavy dialogues, the director has shown the intensity by putting him in powerful situations and he carries the film on his shoulders. Prakash Raj is first rate. He is simply outstanding as the love struck obsessed goonda and fixated on marrying Bhoomika's character wooing her in the most cringe-worthy fashion. The way he says 'I love you' to Bhumika is hilarious. He is the only actor who can justify that kind of role. Bhoomika Chawla looks gorgeous and gives a good performance of a girl always in fear of her life. Agony, ecstasy, sense and sentiment are expected of her and she manages quite well. She looks appealing and brings conviction to her role. The young lady playing Ajay's talkative sister is most entertaining. Telangana Sakuntala as 'Ramulamma', the cigar smoking lady don and mother of Prakash Raj is superb. Her typical dialogue deliver and peculiar walking style is superb. Mukesh Rishi, Chandramohan and Geetha all support well.

The director with his finger right on the pulse of the viewer, and Mahesh Babu, the hero whom the masses today identify with, and Prakashraj, the inimitable villain in tow, this Telugu flick comes as a clear winner!

As of today there may many such Telugu films but Okkadu is class apart and a full paisa-vasool film!