Okkadu Migiladu: An inconsistent drama
Fascinating at places and exhausting at others, this film falls short of being good due to its inconsistencies
A revolution is inevitable if the politicians fail to show a sense of social responsibility. When they continuously fail to address any issues and try to snub, bulldoze and thwart the voice of such people, the war becomes a catastrophe. This is the outline of Manchu Manoj's Okkadu Migiladu. Directed by Ajay Andrews Nuthakki, the film depicts the ordeals of the Sri Lankan Tamils, who try to move away from the extreme brutalities of the army to the Indian shores, face nature’s fury and invariably get caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The film is narrated from a layman's perspective who always seeks compassion and mercy for the people dealing with inhumanity across the two borders.
Direction: Ajay Andrews Nuthakki
Cast: Manchu Manoj, Anisha Ambrose, Milind Gunaji, Posani Krishna Murali
A Sri Lankan refugee and student leader Surya (Manchu Manoj) fights to bring justice for the ghastly rape and killing of three girl students (of which two were Sri Lankan refugees). He realises that the education minister's (Milind Gunaji) sons and a professor are trying to cover up their involvement in the crime. He soon gets framed in a drug case and there, Surya finds some support in journalist Swarna (Anisha Ambrose) and a constable Siva (Posani Krishna Murali). We then get introduced to Peter (also Manchu Manchu), who spearheads a Tamil refugee camp which fights for their freedom in Sri Lanka.
Director Ajay Andrews Nuthakki has effectively adapted a documentary into a feature film and makes us sit through 140 minutes taking a melodramatic approach. The film largely highlights the sufferings of the people who were deprived of their right in a war-torn nation. It emphasises the helplessness, hopes, aspirations and their efforts to save their lives through any means. It never tries to emotionally manipulate, but instead shows how such people have survived only to be repeatedly betrayed.
If a film intends to convey something, and while presenting it, it conveys the opposite, it shows a lack of conviction in the core idea. Instead of bringing the episodes to life on screen, Ajay takes his own sweet time to establish the characters. Despite having a strong emotional content, you get a feeling of artificiality which stays with you till the conclusion of the prolonged sea episode. The graphics in these episodes are poorly executed and appear tawdry. The killings get ample screen time and the irrational violence and gore may seem unnatural and horrifying.
A lot lies on Manchu Manoj’s shoulders (yes, he has gained a few kilos for his role too). He is at ease and gives one of his finest performances. Ajay Andrews Nuthakki does his part with grace and consistency. He steals the show as Victor. Anisha Ambrose gets a good role, better than her last outing in Vunnadhi Okate Zindagi, but still it lacks depth. Posani Krishna Murali has been given an emphatic role that's meant to bring solace to the protagonist and he does that well. Murali Mohan and Suhasini makes no impact.
Okkadu Migiladu is fascinating at places, exhausting at others. The film falls short of being good fare due to its inconsistencies. A better script and crisp run-time would have salvaged this boring narrative.