Debutant director Ashwath Marimuthu’s Ori Devuda, a remake of the Tamil film Oh My Kadavule (2020), stays faithful to the original but doesn’t show any sign of creativity to stand out. While we agree that remakes are a safe bet with a proven outcome, but, what stopped the director from throwing in some creativity and making some sensible alterations to give it a zingy touch?
With an intriguing yet contemporary story, there is so much one can do with a film like Ori Devuda. But Ashwath Marimuthu, who also directed the original, resorts to retelling the story in a different language with a different cast.
Ori Devuda is all about childhood friends Arjun Durgaraj (Vishwak Sen) and Anu Paulraj (Mithila Palkar), who get married with an assured mindset. However, their marriage begins to crack when Arjun’s senior and his childhood crush Meera (Asha Bhat) enters their life. Just when their divorce application was listed for hearing, a divine intervention happens and Arjun gets a second chance in life. Will he redeem his love for Anu or find a way to woo Meera?
Ori Devuda falls firmly in the romantic fantasy space. But even as the tone shifts from light-hearted fun, and fantasy, to heavy drama in the second half, you don’t get the feeling of actually rooting for the characters in this film.
That’s where the director misses the beat! It would’ve been nice if the core plot was retained and changes were made to the film and its characters by using the screenplay as the source material. But you can’t watch Ori Devuda with great expectations because it reproduces scenes and characters from the original as though remaking is nothing but a carbon copy of the original.
Had the director added more comedy and detailing to a few characters (Mithila Palkar, Rahul Ramakrishna), the film would have been more entertaining. One way it’s good that the director didn’t try to make changes since the remake features a prominent star like Venkatesh, who usually plays to the gallery, in a substantial role.
Much of the film coasts along well on the strength of the drama embedded in the writing. But this is a rom-com with a dash of fantasy, so it hits formulaic and predictable notes in the first half and feels stretched at times in the second half. The comedy episode centered around Murli Sharma’s ceramic business is unappealing. Dialogues by Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam are contemporary and ruminate on the complexity of modern romance.
The film makes interesting observations about modern-day relationships and examines concepts of love, friendship, and compromise as seen through the eyes of the millennials. Is there any future for a relationship that isn’t grown on love, but on an arrangement of convenience? Although the film is not perfect, but it gets a few things perfectly right. Ashwath beautifully handled the intricacies of the script and his writing is good.
Vishwak Sen is at ease and charismatic and Mithila Palkar is charming, their on-screen chemistry is crackling, and together, they bring the right amount of energy and intensity to their characters. Asha Bhat has expressive eyes and shines well on her part. Murli Sharma, Venkatesh Kakumanu, and Rahul Ramakrishna are impressive and remain loyal to the characters they play.
In the end, it’s Venkatesh who throws you in excitement with his sheer presence. He plays God with the right amount of humour and emotions. Leon James’ music and background score give the much-needed impetus to the narrative and a couple of numbers—Gundellona and Avunanava—stand out. The special effects in some parts of the movie are bad. For those who’ve seen Oh My Kadavule, it’s unlikely that the remake will keep them entertained. And for the rest, it might come across as a thoughtful romantic drama that is powered by beautiful writing.
Cast: Vishwak Sen, Mithila Palkar, Asha Bhat, Venkatesh
Director: Ashwath Marimuthu