Can Oppam break the box office collection records of Drishyam?

So, the wait is over and the much-awaited film ‘Oppam’ has been released in theatres during Onam season. In sync with positive reviews from critics, the movie is doing good at box office also. It slashed several records including the weekly box office collections set by Malayalis’ favourite Premam, last year. So, the latest question is “Can Oppam repeat the success of Drishyam, and break its box office records to become the highest grosser Malayalam film?” As per latest collections, chances are pretty high. Yes, it’s possible. 

Priyan-Mohanlal – One of the best combos of Malayalam cinema

Priyadarshan and Mohanlal team is known for creating magic onscreen since Priyan’s debut film ‘Poochakkoru Mookkuthi’ in 1984. Since then they have worked together for around 30 or 40 movies and majority of their hits belong to slapstick genre of comedy. They have also done serious action/periodic films such as Kaalapani, Aryan and Abhimanyu. After that Priyan got busy with Bollywood films and returned to Malayalam films in early 2010s. The duo came together for the movies – Arabiyum Ottakavum P Madhavan Nairum (2011) and Geetanjali (2013). But the chemistry of Priyadarshan-Mohanlal combination in the nostalgic 1980s and 1990s went missing. 
Then Priyan returned with a bang with a genre of films which he has rarely experimented in his film career – thriller. Vandanam – years back was one such movies belonging to this genre, though it can’t be completely categorized as thriller. Oppam is his first full-length thriller film and Priyadarshan’s powerful script and Mohanlal’s flawless acting skills have definitely made it worth a watch.

What’s Oppam about?

Oppam tells the story of a blind lift operator Jayaraman, who is charged with a crime he has never committed.  Later it becomes the responsibility of Jayaraman, the blind character to find the real person behind the murder and he does so without any superhero like performance. Similar to Drishyam, Mohanlal breaks his stereotype superstar image to play an ordinary middle-class man in this movie, and he succeeds in this attempt as an actor. Audience too loves to watch him doing experimental roles of simple man.
Through body language, expressions and dialogue-delivery skills, Mohanlal proves himself to be the best choice of the director for this role. It is a delight to watch the actor performing onscreen as an ordinary blind man with super powers of his sense of touch and smell. He carries away the role with ease and steals the whole show.

Priyan back in a bang

Priyadarshan’s career graph in Bollywood is not quite encouraging in the past few years, and he decided to completely switch on to Malayalam movies for a short while. After a few initial setbacks, the director is back on his track. Though the writing has a few flaws, they can be neglected. Its biggest plus point is that despite knowing the real culprit and its climax, through powerful events woven by the director, audience never loss interest in the second half of the film. 

In fact the movie is so gripping in the second half, though it was a little dragged in the first half. As a viewer I felt that, as the movie is categorized as a thriller, at least 10-15 minutes of the first half could have been edited out to make it appeal a gripping thriller. Yet it’s OK, as it is director’s style of making movies with a few songs, song picturization, common scenes etc. Comedy element was almost absent in this movie, and the director spent those precious time to weave a thriller. The second half is really amazing and worth a watch.

While Priyadarshan’s both personal and professional lives hitting lows in the recent times, with his recent release Oppam, the artist has received a great break which he truly deserved. 


Performance and Crew

All the artists associated with the film had done their roles exceptionally well. Female artists – Anusree and Vimala Raman had only a few moments and they have donned their roles to almost perfection. The child artist Meenakshi of Amar Akbar Antony too got a meaty role this time, and the supporting star cast including Nedumudi Venu, Mamukoya, Chemban Vinod, and antagonist Samuthirakani did a commendable job. But the movie is best counted for the stellar performance of its lead actor. Though Mohanlal has played a blind man role for the movies, Yodha (1992) and Guru (1997), Oppam is his first full-fledged film as a blind man as far as I know. Correct me if I am wrong.
Music lovers also got opportunity to see Mohanlal sync lip M. G. Sreekumar for all the songs after a long time. Sreekumar’s voice brought many pleasant nostalgic moments back to screen once again, and special thanks to the director to bring the singer back after a long time. The director-actor-actor trio had worked in many movies in the late 1980s and 1990s.  

Overall rating of the movie

Though the script is quite engaging, a few moments kept me wondering. Its climax scenes are a bit loose comparing the overall making of the second half of the film. I also kept wondering why character Jayaraman hid the real truth of the child to Vasudevan (antagonist Samuthirakani) despite knowing that her life is in danger. Why did he wait till film’s climax, though he got opportunity to face Vasudevan once? I am not disclosing it here, as it may kill the real thrill of the film. Go and watch it. 
Definitely Oppam is one of the best commercial movies of the year, and Mohanlal’s second Malayalam release in 2016 after Telugu-Malayalam bilingual Vismayam. This year his Telugu film Janatha Garage was also a blockbuster. 
What should be the overall rating of the film – Oppam? I would like to give 3.5 out of 5 stars for the movie, 0.5 short of Mohanlal’s all-time best grosser Drishyam

Can Oppam beat Drishyam?

Now speculations are high as the movie got a bumper opening. Drishyam is the highest grosser Malayalam movie, collecting 75 crore Indian rupees, and it has been successfully remade to three Indian languages including Hindi. Oppam is the no: 1 Onam movie in terms of box office collection, and has already racked around 15 crores in 10-11 days if online figures are to be believed. Can Oppam beat Drishyam? Let us wait and see. 

A big thanks to Priyadarshan-Mohanlal team to give a visual treat to Malayalis this Onam season, and hope it’s just a beginning. 
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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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