Very clear about their target audience and its taste, director Dharani and his team have chosen a subject with timeless appeal (!) and a hero who can pull it off, have chalked out a screenplay that’s reasonably racy, sprinkling it with humour and sentiment in apt proportions. Laugh it off, bear it or avoid it — but commercial cinema will continue. Osthe (U) is the latest example. You can’t sit on a high horse and spurn it, because it is made for a large group of avid film watchers, which sees entertainment as escapism. They love super-heroism, brash talk and impossible claims that make them whistle in glee.
These days he is known as STR. A well-groomed appearance and an incredibly toned physique set him apart — the attempt at better screen presence that was evident in Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya, reaches greater levels in Osthe. And every frame tells you the young man enjoys the larger-than-life image Osthe vests him with. Without a bead of sweat on him, Velan, as he is called in the film, serenades, prances, rolls, jumps, dives, flies in the air, shoots and wins effortlessly! The jigs, where you see him lying down on the floor and snaking with unbelievable rhythm for the ‘Neduvaali’ song in particular, leave you zapped! And he doesn’t go overboard in the sentiment segments with Revathi and later with Nasser. STR has worked really hard.
Salman Khan’s Dabangg was a story of a straightforward cop, a predictable politician, a diabolical villain, a dumb sibling and a loving mom. If you are used to the equation, you know the rest of it. But where Dharani, the director, differs, is in the way he has packaged the Tamil version. Sonu Sood is probably the only Dabangg import in the cast. Santhanam, for one, is a welcome inclusion. And the posse of dim-witted policeman add to the fun. Even the henchman, S. Ram, who turns approver at the end, tickles the funny bone. After all, in Osthe you don’t take even serious happenings too seriously.
Is it the same heroine whose sincere effort drew your attention in Mayakkam Enna? Never mind that Richa Gangopadhyay doesn’t have much scope in this one-man show — but couldn’t she have done something about the blank look she sports most of the time? And what stylish cholis this potter’s daughter sashays down in! Jiththan Ramesh springs a surprise in a character role. A wise move! Though it is a bit strange that he plays the younger brother (Balan) of STR! He looks every inch the elder bro. And the two, as boys, don’t have an iota of resemblance to the older versions. The miscasting confuses.
The wedding sequence is another intrigue. Velan barges into the hall with his bride and gets married on the dais decorated and ready for his younger brother. So what? Why do Balan and his future father-in-law fret and fume as if two marriages cannot be performed on the same platform? The animus between the cop and the villain reaches tragic levels only after a sack full of money exchanges hands. But towards the end even the policeman concerned isn’t too bothered about the missing money!
The Nellai dialect adds to the lure in the dialogue. It’s surprising that the potency of heroism-oozing one-liners that impacted filmgoers three decades ago is still intact! Dialogue writer Bharathan exploits it unabashedly, STR delivers the lines with supreme self-confidence, and the fan goes berserk with joy. Thaman’s ‘Unnaalae’ is hum-worthy, and making L. R. Easwari — the yesteryear voice of several sirens — croon for Mallika Sherawat is interesting. Vaalee is its verse writer — his eternally young thought-process is intriguing!
Dharani’s films generally travel at breakneck speed — he doesn’t allow you to stop and ponder over the logic or the lack of it. Dhil, Dhool and Ghilli are classic examples. Again as far as pace goes, Osthe isn’t a dampener. (Let’s forget Kuruvi, as Dharani has forgotten it too.)
Ratiocination lies in comparing and critiquing Osthe only with fare in the same genre. And going by it, the conclusion is if Dabangg could make it, Osthe should! And if Salman could do it, so can STR.