Half way through Otu, one wonders if it is a thriller, a road movie or an ordinary gangster movie. Because there are elements here that could make it belong to any of these genres.
At the end of it all, the questions remain as the directors themselves don’t seem to have made up their minds on what they wanted from the film. The end credits then point to the prospect of a prequel and sequel, after which the title’s “Chapter 2” begins to make sense.
Planning for a three-part series could also be why so much is left unsaid in the film. In the end, it looks like a jigsaw puzzle with quite a few pieces missing, which makes one wonder if there’s enough of it for a standalone movie.
Jobless youngster Kichu (Kunchacko Boban) plans to fly out of the country with his girlfriend Kalyani (Eesha Rebba) who got a job in Norway. To fund this plan, he takes on a mission from a mysterious group to befriend David, aka Dawood, (Arvind Swami), a fearsome underworld don who completely lost his memory after a shooting. Kichu must help him regain his memory, which could help the group find the location of the missing gold.
Director Fellini TP, who made his debut with Theevandiaims for a bigger canvas in Otu, scripted by Hemanth Kumar. However, the ambition, reflected in the star cast and expansive setting along the southwest coast stretching from Mumbai to Mangaluru, doesn’t translate well to the screen, in part due to a storyline without life.
The film invests heavily in the road trip that Kichu undertakes with David in order to rekindle his memories in places closely related to his past. Save for a few interesting sequences, much of this journey is marked by sheer boredom, with the plot advancing at a chilling pace. The only thing that works to some extent is the chemistry between the two actors and their evolving relationship over the journey.
The plan seems to have been to surprise the bored audience, with a flurry of twists and high-flying action in the closing minutes. Despite a genuinely surprising twist, this plan does not work well. Added to the fact that the creators kept everything too late are the unnecessary action sequences that are staged without imagination.
A Jackie Shroff cameo has us wondering if he was there just to include another popular name from yesteryear in the cast, since not much effort was put into writing this character.
The path Otu the product does not make one excited enough for the promised prequel and sequel.