‘Odeya’ review: Darshan’s entertainer is a faithful remake of ‘Veeram’

A remake of the Tamil ‘Veeram’, which had Ajith in the lead, director MD Sridhar’s ‘Odeya’ offers plenty for Darshan fans.
‘Odeya’ review: Darshan’s entertainer is a faithful remake of ‘Veeram’
‘Odeya’ review: Darshan’s entertainer is a faithful remake of ‘Veeram’
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A do-gooder with grey shades who takes pride in being a son of the soil, a couple of villains for the dishoom dishoom, a namesake female lead, and a few sidekicks to keep the story going. That’s your typical mass masala entertainer. Now insert Darshan and a few well-known faces, and it all adds up to the commercial potboiler Odeya.

Director MD Sridhar has 10 movies to his credit, of which five are remakes, and of these, three has Darshan in the lead roles – Porki, Bulbul, and now Odeya. In a bid to remain faithful to the original film (the Tamil Veeram, which had Ajith in the lead), the director seems to have forgotten to hit the delete button even for a few redundant scenes.

Gajendra (Darshan) is a vegetable dealer whose life revolves around his brothers Nagendra, Surendra, Rajendra and Vijayendra (Yashas Surya, Pankaj, Niranjan and Samarth). Gajendra helps farmers by standing up against mediators, and that pits him against the antagonist Bettappa (Sharath Lohitashwa).

Gajendra makes roaring statements about farmers and farmlands, steadily climbing up the ladder to be the chief of the farmers society. A few fights later, the film and the audience settle down. Gajendra vows to stay single, as he believes that marriage will ruin his relationship with his brothers. But his brothers, who are already in relationships, decide to set him up with a girl so that their path to marriage will be cleared.

Gajendra’s childhood friend Krishnamurthy (Ravishankar Gowda) tells the brothers about Gajendra’s ‘soul connection’ with their schoolmate Shakambari Devi aka Sakku. Instead of trying to find the classmate, the brothers just bring a random girl with the name Shakambari Devi. Enter the peace-loving Sakku (Sana), whose life revolves around making Gajendra fall in love with her. After she succeeds, she takes him to meet her father Krishna Wodeyar (Devaraj), a landlord and an ardent follower of non-violence. As the movie progresses, Wodeyar gets to know about Gajendra’s violent past and breaks up his daughter’s relationship with Gajendra. What follows is a tried-and-tested formulaic story.

Action cinema is Darshan’s forte and Gajendra’s part is tailor-made for the actor. But the only problem is, the movie is at least four years late. Odeya offers plenty for Darshan fans – mass entry scenes every 20 minutes, lengthy punch dialogues to hoot at, dance numbers, and a lot of fight scenes that defy the laws of physics. But for commercial moviegoers, it all seems outdated. The star’s fans have hit a jackpot this year as three movies made it to the theatres. But it must be noted that both Yajamana and Odeya run on almost the same lines. A few close-up shots reveal that Darshan is ageing; maybe it is time for him to try taking up different roles like he did at the very beginning of his career.

Devaraj, Sharath Lohitashwa and Ravishankar excel in their roles. Sana has a lot to catch up in terms of acting. Chikkanna and Sadhu Kokila are part of the usual comedy club. Apart from ensuring that Gajendra and his brothers don’t go to jail for creating chaos in the village by getting into fights, lawyer Ramachari’s (Chikkanna) job is to crack sexist one-liners which follow the original script. The brothers’ characters carry no value and they are reduced to just fillers.

With Veeram having released five years ago, the director could have brought in some changes to the script to give it a ‘renewed touch’, but it is disappointing that he did not. A few scenes, jokes and fights look very outdated. Romantic scenes too are a tad bit longer and if trimmed at the right places could have made a difference. Veeram played straight to the gallery and so does Odeya. The first half is all dialogues and fights. But with the family sentiment chunk in the second half, it does manage to bring in the entertainer bit into the picture. Another noticeable element is how Darshan wears only black and shades of grey in the first half, and in the second half it is all white and mellow colours.

Arjun Janya’s music is average. Romantic number Kaaneyaagiruve Naanu in Sonu Nigam’s voice, shot in snow-clad locations, is a treat to the eyes and ears. Malavalli Maavana Magane is a forgettable fast number while what disappoints most is the title track, Hey Odeya.

If you haven’t watched the original film and are up for a mass family entertainer, Odeya might be a good choice, provided you leave logic at home and watch it only for the sake of entertainment.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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