STORY: ‘Okkadu Migiladu‘ is the story of displaced Sri Lankan Tamilians who find themselves stuck with the tag of ‘refugees’ all their lives. The mistreatment they face both in India and Sri Lanka, with either country refusing to accept them as their own, forms the crux of the story.
REVIEW: Surya (Manchu Manoj) is a student leader fighting for justice for three girl students who were raped and murdered, two of whom happen to be Sri Lankan refugees just like him. The ‘uneducated’ education minister, his sons and a professor at the college, feature on the list of accused, trying to cover up the crime. Soon Surya’s smart mouth gets him into trouble as he’s almost framed for his involvement in a drug case and police interrogates him without filing a case. He finds support in a reporter Swarna (Anisha Ambrose) and an empathetic policeman Shiva (Posani Krishna Murali).
He narrates Shiva a tale about a Robert (Manchu Manoj), the leader of a refugee camp and his fight for freedom in Sri Lanka. Despite not considering escapism as an option, how Robert gives into Victor (Ajay Andrews) and few other refugees’ insistence and allows them to head out to sea in search of greener pastures in India. However, Robert has a definite identity which is revealed at the end of the film.
The plight of Sri Lankan Tamils is one that many in our country know, but don’t acknowledge. The director’s choice to not hold back from showing the atrocities they face in gory, bloody detail, deserves appreciation. The film leaves one pondering if it could not have been told in a better manner. While the subject of the film is strong, the screenplay, direction and cinematography are a major let down. The camera work for the film and direction aim to convey the chaos and urgency of the situations on screen, but somehow, it fails to translate it well.
Manchu Manoj gained weight for his role in the film and said it was his responsibility to do the movie. But, those expecting this to be a Manchu Manoj show, will be sorely disappointed. Because the film, throughout, is an Ajay Andrews’ show. He plays the role of Victor with an ease that is hard to describe, even if he’s featured only for a portion of the film. Manchu Manoj on the other hand delivers dialogues in a way that remind the audience of his father Mohan Babu, with his only emotion in the film being jowl-vibrating anger.
Keeping up with the subject of the film, one may expect there to be pivotal moments and key character developments to connect with the characters over time. But Ajay is so busy packing in all the list of atrocities faced, that there’s simply no time left to do that. There are very few scenes in the film that manage to evoke any kind of emotion from the audience, despite the whole film relying on a heavy dose of melodrama. But where the film fails at most is its drawn out, unriveting narration and choppy editing.
Give this one a miss, unless you have some time to kill!