BANGALORE: If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then Oggarane satiates all the senses. To begin with, the food in the film occasionally steals the show, leaving the audience craving for more.
Oggarane, directed by Prakash Rai, also allows him, as an actor, to go beyond his traditional villainous roles. He is romantic with a fascinating blend of bravado and sensitivity. Of course, it is always a dicey proposition to do a remake, and he opted for the classic Malayalam hit Salt and Pepper. Here, Prakash as a director and producer took it up as a challenge to handle the content, technique, casting and direction in three languages simultaneously, and it has paid off deliciously.
Food, drinks and conversations play the protagonists in Oggarane, and the story revolves around Kalidas (Prakash Rai) a middle-aged archeologist who is an eligible bachelor. He is happy with two companions residing at his house – one is his old friend (Mandya Ramesh) who has been with him for decades and the other is a cook (Achyuth Kumar). His nephew Naveen (Tejas), who is in search of a job, pays him a visit and gifts him a mobile phone. A wrong call to his number from Gowri (Sneha), a dubbing artiste, and life takes a turn.
For long, they enjoy conversing over the phone, till they finally set a date to meet. Meanwhile, Naveen happens to meet Meghana (Samyukta Hornad), a relative of Gowri’s, and the two fall in love with each other. Will Kalidas and Gowri get to meet other and will their meeting help Naveen and Meghana to reveal their love? How all this unravels packs the film with a lot of honesty.
The film strikes a chord and is generously sprinkled with the spice of life, which also evokes an emotional response. The presence of food is constant and evocative. The sequence of Kalidas revealing the secret of Joan’s cake to Gowri is a sign of her lowering her guard and opening her heart. Here, the passion for food Kalidas and Gowri feel is contagious.
Prakash Rai proves his versatility yet again. His role as Kalidas is convincing and genuine. As a director, he has tried to retain the flavour of the original along with a few innovations. What is most interesting to watch is how food can be the most important ingredient of companionship. Sneha rises to the occasion by delivering a relaxed, engaging performance as Gowri. Samyukta and Tejas bring in a whiff of vigour to Prakash’s direction. The rest of the cast including Achyuth Kumar and Mandya Ramesh are competent. Urvashi and Aishwarya Lakshmi do mark their presence in blink-and-miss roles. However, Jakkaya’s character and the whole sequence seems irrelevant as it seems to have been inserted to prove Kalidas’ sensitivity and his generous attitude.
It is Ilayaraja’s music that brings in a tantalising aroma to Oggarane and makes it a culinary treat. Cinematographer Preetha Jayaram has added bright colours to the palette. Editing is crisp.
Verdict: Oggarane is a dish made of friendship, delicious food and companionship. Watch this romantic entertainer to get a better taste of Prakash Rai’s multi-faceted talent.
Cast: Prakash Rai, Sneha, Samyukta and Tejas
Director: Prakash Rai