We rarely come across Tamil films approaching the various sections of people in a realistic manner. Belittling the marginalized segments by looking down or patronizingly portraying them is the normal practice of mainstream Tamil cinema. However, we get to see some realistic portrayals of such segments in recent days in films like Puduppettai, E, and Polladhavan. Oram Po is one such attempt.
The movie looks into the world of a section of Chennai auto rickshaw drivers as realistic as possible. The approach by debutant directors Pushkar and Gayatri is refreshingly new, as they do not look at them from outside. They make a sincere attempt to look at their lives from within.
Oram Po tells you the story of a set of auto rickshaw drivers based in Chennai in a simple and straight forward manner without any pretensions. The movie has nothing serious in its content. It provides you an engrossing experience with light hearted and enchanting sequences.
Director couple Pushkar and Gayatri makes their debutant with Oram Po, featuring Arya and Pooja in the lead roles. The couple has effectively recreated the lives and emotions of the auto rickshaw drivers. They have captured the various shades of their lives. They try to show you the lives as realistic as possible.
Chandru (Arya) and ‘Bigilu’ (Lal) are close friends. Chandru is an expert in auto race and Bigilu, a mechanic is an expert in customizing the autos to run at a dream speed of 130 km/hr.
Son of Gun (John Vijay) is the chief of rival group who wants to outsmart Chandru-Bigilu group. Chandru, the race champ tries to settle his dues for his auto through a race, which is almost a cakewalk for him. He and Bigilu challenge Son of Gun to a race. And the day for race is fixed.
Bigilu meanwhile introduces Chandru to his sister running a Biriyani shop. Chandru is attracted towards her daughter (Pooja), and woos her into his fold. The affair grows stronger and ends in sex. The care free auto driver however, is not interested in long term commitment and tells it on the face of the girl. Shocked Pooja curses him and moves away from him. The champion gets distracted on the D day because of the memories of his love affair and fails in the race. He looses his auto and later his dearest friend Bigilu, who comes to know about his affair.
The sub plot of the search for the missing diamonds by a smuggler adds flavour to the proceedings. The unpredictable and fun filled climax puts everything in order.
Arya looks credible as an auto driver but struggles to exude varied emotions demanded by various situations. His expressions are monotonous and hence tend to be boring. His expressions in the race and in wine shop sequences are impressive. He also scores in romantic sequences.
Pooja fits into the casual girl who serves Biriyani in her father’s mess. Her chemistry with Arya is good. She has enacted the romance, disappointment, and anger well.
Lal as an elderly friend to the hero gets a sumptuous role and does it convincingly. He handles the character with ease. John Vijay plays the villain cum comedian role perfectly. His presence lights up the proceedings and his handling of Nellai dialect is simply enjoyable.
Others including Vijay TV fame Jagan (Chandru’s friend), Ashwini (Chandru’s sister), and Nellai Siva are competent. The debutant director duo has avoided melodrama and sentiments. The narration is simple and smooth. The turning points are convincing. The script has avoided the routine sequences one could expect from this kind of stories. The separation and reunion of Lal and Arya are handled well.
The story has many threads like the financial problems of the protagonist, his casual love affair, the race, the tug of war between two groups, the diamond mystery, and the ups and downs of the friendship between Lal and Arya. All these threads have been deftly put together to make a neat script.
The couple has also worked hard to reproduce the lingo of the auto drivers with amazing reality. They have of course, gone overboard in using the filthy language in their pursuit for realistic portrayal. Some of the suggestive dialogues could have been easily done away with.
The music by G.V. Prakash Kumar goes with the tone of the movie. It is loud and entertaining. The background score add spice to the proceedings. ‘Nandavanathil’ song fits into the narration perfectly. The lyrics by Na. Muthukumar and the rendition by Manikka Vinayagam are impressive. The item song is enticing in terms of picturization and music as well. Alka Yagnik’s voice is mesmerizing.
Nirav Shaw’s cinematography is pleasant to the eyes. He has captured the race sequences well. The lighting in the shed, wine shop, and beach are quite natural and effective
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