O.Baby, directed by Ranjan Pramod, is a film that starts off in this eerie wild setting that ultimately talks about the power dynamic. While the first and second act of the movie makes things look highly intriguing, the sudden entry of the third act almost shifts the film’s tone to somewhat of a black comedy and unsettles the rhythm of this crime thriller.
The movie is set in the backdrop of a vast plantation in the western ghats. O.Baby, aka Baby, is the manager of the estate, and he is a loyal and trusted servant of that family. Things take a different turn when the estate owners realize that a romantic relationship is developing between Baby’s son Basil and Mini, the great-grandchild of the family’s patriarch. How this relationship evolves into a reason for a lot of dramatic events is what we see in O.Baby.
If you look at the script analytically, Ranjan Pramod has done a truly impressive job in creating a layered world. He shows the routine job of the character Baby in the earlier portions of the film and establishes his dynamic with the family and workers. And he also emphasizes how Baby was okay with his position in the hierarchy despite his son making him realize they were the ones who were there from the beginning. I liked how the interval conflict was established in the film, as we would feel bad for Baby, who is stuck in this transitional generation. The initial portion of the second half, which has some spectacularly executed stunt choreography, is also exciting. But after a point, Ranjan Pramod decides to drag the movie away from a possible tragic climax. Even though it looks interesting on paper, the execution feels a bit wayward.
As the title character O.Baby, Dileesh Pothan delivers a brilliant performance. The way he expresses his loyalty, the camaraderie he shares with his son, the teary-eyed expression in that pre-interval confrontation scene, the anger in the second half hunt sequences, etc., just made him the perfect choice to be Baby. Karikku fame Vishnu Agasthya has got a prominent role in the film, and he was really good in that part. Raghunath Paleri was a bit of a letdown in terms of dialog delivery. Haniya Nafisa, who played the role of Mini, had dialogue delivery issues in her very first scene. But as the movie progressed, she got into the rhythm of things. Devadath, as the politically aware and clear Basil, was also good.
Ranjan Pramod has made this A certified movie to make the power-politics look impactful to the audience. He leaves certain clues about possible tactics in the latter part of the movie very casually in the beginning. Even the empowerment of the suppressed is shown in a very organic and natural way. The way he uses existing characters to derive drama is also keeping things interesting for the audience. Cinematography that shuttles between aerial and steady shots of the forest and handheld panic sequences enhances the mood. Samjith Mohammed’s decision to have fewer cuts for those raw fight sequences was brilliant. The tone shift of the movie from being a strong political one to a partially satirically political one was a bit too jarring.
O.Baby has the texture of those Bharathan Padmarajan films that were extremely character driven and explored emotions like ego and love in the same story. When you look at the crucial moments in the movie, the effort taken for perfection will make you realize that it wasn’t a hastily set-up drama. But like I already said, the graph of intrigue slips considerably towards the end, and the anticipated high is missing from the tale.
The graph of intrigue slips considerably towards the end, and the anticipated high is missing from the tale.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended