There are different ways of presenting murder mysteries. The two most common methods are; to reveal the identity of the murderer quite early in the film and then gradually reach to the murder and the modus operandi of the crime. The second method is where there is good amount of suspense till the very end without revealing the identity of the person who committed the crime pushing the audience to make their guesses and ultimately removing the mask of the criminal. Both has its pros and cons but ultimately what matters is how the presentation goes taking enough precautions in covering up the loopholes, if any.
Priyadarshan for a change attempt a genre he has not attempted before in Oppam, his latest flick with Mohanlal in the lead. Now the question is to which category of murder mystery Oppam belongs. Well, it is the former category to which the film hold its side where the director reveals who commits the crime quite early through the film itself and slowly but steadily reveal his true intentions. Priyan himself has revealed this in one of his recent interviews and Oppam justify what he said.
About the film, the execution considering the nature of the story here occupy paramount importance and Oppam is presented in a flawless manner through a well written screenplay. The combination of Priyan and Mohanlal which was fading Into oblivion mainly due to some duds from this combination in the recent past can rejoice atlast with what they have achieved through this film.
The story has Jayaraman, a blind person who is a lift operator in a high-rise apartment sharing a good relationship with a retired chief justice. Priyan here narrate a cat and mouse game between this blind man and the criminal with a slow paced thriller.
A reasonably good first half gets a different shade just before the halfway mark and from there on its a chase where the murderer wants to hunt down Jayaraman and Jayaraman on his part wants to catch hold of the antagonist. But Jayaraman has his limitations in the form of blindness and whether the two of them can succeed in their objective and who wins the race is narrated in a believable manner in Oppam.
For Priyadarshan, I assume this is a new genre. Something which he hasn’t tried out before. But he has succeeded in this attempt with a film that has few subplots in it. The main plot gets a slow build up as the subplots gets into the action for quite some before the film takes a turn to show us what the real intentions are behind the story. Story and screenplay both played its part and to be effective for these two areas to work, it requires a clean execution and this is what has helped the film to be a convincing one.
Playing a blind character is no mean task. The role has numerous challenges with minute expressions and mannerisms holding high importance. Mohanlal, playing a full length blind character with majority of scenes focused on him with lot of close up shots has accepted the challenge with a believable and convincing act in front of the camera. Considering the challenge he had in presenting this role, for me this is one of the best from him in the recent past. A single dialogue scene where his sister character played by Anjali Upasana seeks his blessing was a touching one that had his major contribution to make that scene a successful one.
A high number of supporting actors are there in the film. People like Innocent, Nedumudy Venu and Maamukoya are some of the familiar faces in a Priyan film but barring Maamukoya, the other two doesn’t have a meaty role at their disposal. New generation actors like Aju Varghese, Chemban Vinod and Hareesh are also part of the cast and among them Chemban had a good screen presence when compared with the other two. Tamil actor Samuthirakani is the antagonist and he was very effective in that role. Mernakshi, the little girl also stood out with a sweet performance.
Vimala Raman and Anusree are the ladies in the party and their performance is nothing commendable. Renji Panicker as the police officer was effective. Arjun Nandakumar and Bineesh Kodiyeri are also there in small roles.
Background score has played a very important part for Oppam with tunes that matched the scenes. Songs especially the minnaminugu one is already on the hit charts. First half had three songs which was slightly higher and acting as a speed breaker but those were placed at the right places. Decent cinematography and neat edits to complete the technical side which has too many unfamiliar faces unlike earlier Priyan films.
In a nutshell, I would say, Oppam is a good thriller. Priyadarshan Mohanlal combination which were once money-spinners at the box office should be able to collect some good return through this film as the spark that was missing in their films for the past few years have come back and they have regained that magic touch once again in a new genre for this combination.