Time Travel as a concept has been much used in western novels and movies. If we talk about Telugu Cinema Aditya 369 directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao was a successful fantasy film. In Oke Oka Jeevitham director Shree Karthik uses time travel as a background to explore the lives of three close friends. The director mixes different genres like science, sentiment, thriller etc. Oke Oka Jeevitham could have been crisper as it does drag in the second half; also Sharwanand comes across as a weak link. But all things considered, Oke Oka Jeevitham has its heart in the right place and is consistently watchable.
The film begins off with an experiment that a quantum physicist (played by Nassar) conducts along with fellow scientific partner and friend. This experiment is regarding a time machine, but unfortunately for Nassar and his friend it turns out to be a disaster. From there we move to the introduction of Adi (Sharwanand), Sreenu (Vennela Kishore), and Chaitu (Priyadarshi). Each of them has their own set of problems. For example Adi suffers from severe stage fright which is related to the death of his mother (Amala) at an early age. He has lot of passion for music but he starts getting nervous when he is in front of public. Ritu Varma is the supportive girlfriend whose sole purpose is to prod her boyfriend and make him get out of this stage fright (Similar to Ayan Mukerji’s heroines). The father, on the other hand, feels that Adi is wasting his time.
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Vennela Kishore plays a house agent who constantly regrets on not taking his studies seriously. Unfortunately for Sreenu, his marriage with his uncle’s daughter gets cancelled because of his job status. Chaitu on the other hand is not able to get married; he finds faults with every girl he meets. During his childhood there was a girl who liked him but Chaitu didn’t care for her much. Now that girl has grown into a beautiful woman and is going to get married. It is at this stage that the three friends come into contact with Paul through Sreenu. Paul first convinces Adi to go back in time, after Adi gets convinced Sreenu and Chaitu also decide to join in. Apart from the above mentioned characters there are also three children who play the younger version of Adi, Sreenu and Chaitu. What follows is an emotional drama set against the backdrop of time travel.
The best thing about Oke Oka Jeevitham are the scenes featuring Amala. Amala brings a certain grace to her part. She does well in her role of a strong mother who cares for her son and tries to help him overcome his shortcomings. She is particularly good in the key emotional bits.
The dialogues by Tharun Bhaskar are another major win for the film. There are a lot of witty-one liners, especially the ones between Vennela Kishore and Priyadarshi. The humor brings a smile to your face. My other favorite bit in the time travel are the scenes where Vennela Kishore pleads with his younger self played by Nithyaraj, to focus on his studies. Both Vennela Kishore and Priyadarshi hold the film afloat and keep you engaged even in the stretchy second half.
The cinematography by Sujith is good as he successfully showcases the difference between the two time zones the 1990’s and 2019. Director Sree Karthik is also successful in integrating the twists and turns which keep you engaged. The scenes featuring the three children are also good, my favorite though is Nityaraj.
Oke Oka Jeevitham fumbles from the middle of the second half where things start getting convoluted. The track of Nassar doesn’t add much to the film beyond a point. He only serves as a catalyst for the three protagonists to overcome their fears and nothing else.
The love story between Sharwanand and Ritu Varma is thankfully kept to a minimum but it is something that the makers could have done away with. Sharwanand as Adi is strictly one note in both characterization and performance. The actor looks rather tired and this proves to be a roadblock.
Also the cameo of Ali comes out from nowhere and you are left scratching your heads about why the senior actor is taking up these parts, first Liger and now this.
Final word: Oke Oka Jeevitham is a competent experiment particularly for the audiences of Telugu cinema.