Ottu Movie Review: A tedious mystery with one good idea in a sea of several dull ones
The combined swag of Arvind Swami and Kunchacko Boban can't save a shoddy script
It's understandable when Kunchacko Boban's Kichu tells the people he works for that making someone remember their past doesn't happen instantly -- that it takes a lot of time and effort. The someone in question is Arvind Swami's character, referred to throughout the film as David. They tell Kichu that David was the right-hand man of an underworld boss named Assainar, earlier assassinated in an ambush, the impact of which caused David memory loss. Yes, bringing back his memories will take a lot of time, but when the film that these two characters belong to is being marketed as a thriller, we get disappointed when there aren't any thrills to be found, except in its final 15 minutes, which brings up a really cool twist. But by then, one is too bored to care.
Director: Fellini TP
Cast: Arvind Swami, Kunchacko Boban, Eesha Rebba
Ottu is the film's title, but look carefully at the recent posters, and you'll see a confusing addition, 'Chapter Two'. The film's opening credits show the same, and it is bound to make people wonder if they missed 'Chapter One' in another movie that went by another name. Fret not, because 'Chapter One' is simply the event of which we get a few glimpses in 'Chapter Two' (a.k.a Ottu). These are vague flashbacks that explain the events leading up to Chapter Two. But such explanations are bothered with it only towards the end of the film, where we learn that some characters may not be who they say they are. As I said, Ottu has one good idea which gets diluted by all its dull ideas. The latter includes a brief cameo by an incomprehensible Jackie Shroff, who emerges out of the water wearing only briefs, in a possible nod to Rangeela. The rest of the film, which involves a long road trip where Kichu tries to jog David's memory, are uninspiring stretches filled mostly with tepid dialogues and bromance moments, not to mention the forced musical interludes that don't do much for the narrative. Sometimes the whole thing resembles a commercial for the Mercedez Benz they are riding in.
Of course, one can see why the makers cast Kunchacko Boban and Arvind Swami, but what's the point when the script lets these charismatic actors down? There is often the nagging sense that the original vision was more ambitious than what we see on screen. There is a bit in Goa where we finally see David's reflexes come back, and if it's supposed to make one say 'Wow', it doesn't. The same goes for a scene where David and his gang rampage a rival's stronghold, and the execution is devoid of logic and grace. The choreography is straight out of a bad B-movie. In a world where we see international filmmakers make far superior gangster thrillers with far superior fight scenes and gunplay despite budgetary constraints, isn't it embarrassing when Malayalam cinema comes up with such shoddy material?