After a long, long time have I seen a Tamil original. And believe me, I am impressed.
The story is of these two lovers Adi and Tara. They don't want to wed yet, and so they live-in. And this forms the invariable crux of 'OK Kanmani', written and directed by Mani Ratnam and starring Dulquer Salman and Nithya Menen in the lead roles.
The premise of the film is simple and far from any complex ideas of 'love' aaj kal. But the film builds on the premise and instead of convolution of the script further, Ratnam makes the thing sing with the melodies of his storytelling: he dazzles the film with by PC Sreeram's interesting camerawork, which at some point of time leaves the lovers and focuses on the surroundings.
But the best thing about the film is that it doesn't choose to be feel-good, fluffy and light-hearten either. I loved the performance of Dulquer Salman as the developing-in-each-frame Aditya, but Nithya Menen's Tara, who is simple and interesting, just blew my mind with a fabulously shifting performance.
The film observes the gazes of the lovers towards each other in restrained mannerisms. The film neither falls short on ideas nor does it get away with the intimate moments. It, in fact, delves deep into the sweet and stunning love story these people have.
But you must watch 'O Kadhal Kanmani' because it is a triumph of romance, sweet, blooming and restrained. At a little more than 2 hours the film can be candyfloss and indulgent, but never boring. I am going with 3.5 out of 5 for 'O Kadhal Kanamni'. It is a sultry, passionate and effective drama which smells of roses.
Amid much hype & expectations, Mani Ratnam's "O Kadhal Kanmani" aka "OK Kanmani" has hit the screens. The hoopla might sound a bit over the top, but it's kinda justified after all the maestro has given us gems in the past though his recent track record hasn't done justice to his caliber. With Rahman's music topping the charts, it has been in the wishlist of most of the movie lovers. So was it vintage Mani Ratnam on offer???
Adhi (Dulquer Salmaan), a game programmer has relocated to Mumbai & as he awaited his buddies to pick him up; he happened to lay his eyes on Tara (Nithya Menen), an architect who seemed to be in a rather weird situation. They meet again at a common friend's wedding & hit off famously right from the word go. Both of them shared similar views with regard to the institution of marriage & decides to take their relation to the next level by opting for a live in relationship. Incidentally, Adhi resided in his brother's ex-colleague's apartment, Ganapathy (Prakash Raj) who sternly disapproved of Tara shifting in with Adhi. However, he gives in eventually as his wife Bhavani (Leela Samson), a carnatic singer but presently an Alzheimer's patient takes a liking for Tara. So will Adhi & Tara be able to remain aloof of their feelings or will they realise that a relationship like the one which Ganapathy & Bhavani shares is what makes life worthwhile???
Mani Ratnam is well & truly back with a bang after a string of low key ventures like "Kadal", "Raavan"etc. What makes this movie click is the manner in which he has captured both the relationships be it the one within the institution of marriage or the "live in" relationship. He hasn't taken sides & leaves it to the audience as to who they would actually root for...but believe me, you cant help feeling for the older couple. Both the halves proceeds in a rather leisurely manner & culminates in a predictable climax, but it doesn't actually make us look at our watches . Apart from Mani, there are two other individuals from the technical side who has made this movie such a pleasurable experience. P. C Sreeram's visuals was brilliant & adds to the feel of the movie while AR Rahman as always comes up with catchy tracks for Mani, with "Mental Manadhil" likely to be in loop in many of the music systems.
Dulquer was fantastic as the uber cool dude & seemed an absolute natural in the role. As for Nithya Menen, she was awesome as she exudes oomph & confidence in ample measure. Just as it has been in "Usthad Hotel" & "100 Days of Life", their sizzling chemistry works wonders for the movie. Prakash Raj as always acted as if he owned the character which very few actors manage to do while Leela Samson was also equally impressive. The rest of the cast, have also done a fine job.
Verdict: The brand value of Mani Ratnam, the catchy promos & sound tracks guaranteed a crunching initial for the movie. Well the content & the manner in which it has been executed in all departments, will make it an absolute favourite among the audience for the next few weeks. In short, dont try to compare it with other Mani Ratnam movies & you would surely enjoy it!!!
O Kadhal Kanmani (Tamil) (English: Oh Love, Apple of my Eye)
Logical and realistic love story with fair treatment given to all the characters including side characters.
Superior piece of Direction by Mani Ratnam, Starring Dulquer Salmaan (as Aadi) and Nithya Menon (as Tara) in lead roles as a Lovers. Also starring Prakash Raj and Leela Samson in supporting roles.
Mani Ratnam (after success of Guru in 2007) with this movie literally came back out of failures like Kadhal and Raavan.
With highly anticipated and appropriate Background score and lovely songs by A R Rahman and the Cinematography by P C Sreeram absolutely made this movie as an eye-candy visual treat to watch. Marvellous camera captures and colourful presentation of a life in Mumbai, local train, railway stations, the rain, famous areas like Marine Drive, CST Station,etc. all these things actually complements with love life of characters.
Story: The screenplay revolves around a topic of Live-in-Relationship and its ups-and-downs. What conflicts theay faced? How they tries to overcome those hurdles is the story of film in short. Will they find an inspiration to have a serious relationship and have they found strong reason for decisions they made; its the questions for which viewers can find answers in theatres.
Casting: It may be the planned thing or a co-incidence that Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menon both performed in two Romantic movies this year which are, O Kadhal Kanmani and 100 Days Of Love. They actually looked perfect made for each other type of couple in both of these movies. The supporting cast for OK Kanmani is Prakash Raj and Leela Samson, which actually acts as a love-life-guidance to Dalquer and Nithya in movie. Somehow the roles of Aadi and Tara sometime found resemblance.
Reasons to watch: Highly recommended for A R Rahman and Mani Ratnam combination fans; they both has a legacy of movies like Roja, Bombay, Saathiya, Guru,etc. Now-a-days almost all big budget Non-Hindi movies releasing in alomost all over India and that's the reason these movies are releasing with English subtitles.
Reasons for not watching: If love story and romantic genre is not your interest.