Stars: 4 / 5
Oopiri ( = Breath) is the hit Telugu film released on March 25th of this year which was released in Tamil as Thozha ( = Friend) simultaneously. It is a frame to frame remake of the 2011 French film The Intouchables.
Vikramaditya (portrayed by Nagarjuna) a rich entrepreneur owning a bunch of businesses is paralyzed from neck and down due to an accident while paragliding leaving him a quadriplegic. Keerthi (portrayed by Tamannaah), his assistant, is set on getting a caretaker for Vikramaditya who can look-after him 24/7. Enter Seenu, a convict on parole, detested by his mother and siblings, who applies for the job on advice of his attorney. The only reason Seenu (portrayed by Karthi) agrees for the interview is so he could have a chance to talk to Keerthi. His honest and straightforward answers capture Vikramaditya and he appoints Seenu on the spot despite Keerthi's and his friend Prasad's (portrayed by Prakash Raj) objections. Vikramaditya explains that for this time of his life, he is correct since he doesn’t show any pity unlike others.
Thus begins the friendship between Vikramaditya and Seenu each shouldering the other in bringing life back to Vikramaditya. A beautiful journey thru the lives of Vikramaditya, Seenu, Karthi and Prasad and how each changes each other - a wonderful watch.
Terrific performances by everyone in the movie. Nagarjuna as a rich quadreplegic who had everything that a man can have fit seamlessly into the role of Vikramaditya. I don’t think anyone else would have done it so well. May be his contemporary Venkatesh, but it was a tailor-made role for Nagarjuna. I must say, this was the first time I was watching a movie of Karthi. However, he has done good justice to the role of Seenu. It is very interesting that Seenu's acting comes so close to how Venkatesh acts in movies - his mannerisms, the style and the delivery of dialogues. Tamannaah is not one of my favorite actresses but she surprisingly did well for her part - suited perfect as an assistant to a rich man that she cared about.
It being such a feel-good movie, I feel terrible to drive a wrench in between but I thought it was a bit too much of a feel-good movie. And even though it had a message about friendship, about survival, about perseverance and about striving but I felt that somewhere hidden between the lines it showed that money talks. May be I was seeing the glass as half-full but if the story had a middle-class quadriplegic, would it have been depicted so much as a feel-good movie. I am not sure.
Anyway, it was still a good movie. If you get a chance go and watch it…definitely will lift your spirits.