They say all you need is one moment to change your opinion on something. And once you cross the threshold, it’s not the same anymore.
It couldn’t be more true in case of Allu Sirish, Surbhi starrer Okka Kshanam (which translates to ‘One Moment’). Directed by Vi Anand, the film dabbles with the concept of parallel life and how human will can triumph destiny. The concept might sound twisted and complicated; however, Vi Anand gives us enough reasons to believe that it’s a possible scenario in the lives of the film’s lead characters. But that’s far from the biggest achievement of the film. It’s strength lies in how it wins you over as it unfolds and after you cross the threshold level, it turns into an unlikely thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seats.
The film narrates the story of Jeeva (Allu Sirish), who meets Jyotsna (Surbhi) in the parking lot of a shopping mall. It’s love at first sight for him, and she too reciprocates his feelings. In fact, she takes the initiative to give him her number. One day, Jyotsna tells Jeeva that she has the habit of watching people and that, the life of another young couple (played by Srinivas Avasarala and Seerat Kapoor) intrigues her. Jyotsna suspects that Srinivas Avasarala has been harassing Seerat, and she begs Jeeva to help Seerat. When Jeeva finally bumps into Srinivas Avasarala, he learns a shocking truth that whatever incidents happen in Srinivas and Seerat’s life will unfold in a similar manner in his and Jyotsna’s life too. They call it ‘parallel life’. The rest of the story is about how Jeeva races against time to save Jyotsna from an impending danger.
Before we talk about why the film works in the end, it’s also important to acknowledge how boring the first half of the film feels.
Vi Anand spends ample time to build the story featuring Allu Sirish and Surbhi, and it just doesn’t seem to come together for nearly 45 minutes into the story. We are shown vignettes of their love story, how they meet each other’s family members; however, their budding romance lacks the charm to sweep you off your feet. It’s not the question of whether Sirish and Surbhi play their roles earnestly or not (they do), but it’s the anticipation of the film’s core emotion that stops us from investing our time and energy into empathising with the lead pair’s romantic subplot.
Nothing really happens that’ll make us want to root for the characters, except for flashes of what’s happening in the lives of Srinivas Avasarala and Seerat Kapoor. And then, by the time, the interval twist is revealed, the film already has our curiosity.
There’s something about how the film is written and narrated in the second half that it feels like you’ve stepped into a different thrill ride in an amusement park. The characters are the same, but Vi Anand shifts gears effortlessly and makes up for all the lost time in the first half. In hindsight, although it’s true that the initial portions of the film focus on making us want to root for the lead pair, who’s clueless about what’s going to hit them, it was perhaps a necessary evil.
Of course, it could have been better. But none of this matters once the mystery behind the lives of Srinivas and Seerat is unravelled. It’s thrilling and Vi Anand ensures that the tempo isn’t lost almost till the end.
Watching this film reminded me of the impact that an energy drink has on us. We don’t feel its effect in the beginning, but once the reaction kicks in, it effect keeps going on and on until you feel refreshed. Perhaps, that’s how Anand and his team also writes their scripts. Like their previous film Ekkadiki Pothaavu Chinnavada, this film too turns into a rewarding experience if you have some patience and faith in the storyteller. Okka Kshanam is a director’s film, but it just wouldn’t have been the same with a rousing background score by Mani Sharma, who’s in top form.
For Allu Sirish, Okka Kshanam marks the beginning of a new phase in his career. The actor is a lot more at ease in this film compared to his previous works, and he does a good job in making us believe that his character is truly desperate to save his girlfriend’s life. Surbhi, who played Sirish’s romantic interest, fits the role to the T, but it’s Srinivas Avasarala and Seerat Kapoor who take the cake for their performance as a troubled couple. Satya, Praveen too deliver commendable performances.
Quite rarely do we come across films which redeem themselves after leaving an overwhelming feeling that we made a big mistake watching them in first place. But Okka Kshanam not just wins your over in the end, but also leaves a solid impression that you can’t just write off the storyteller in Vi Anand. There’ll be a moment in the story that’ll make you forget your cynicism and enjoy the roller-coaster ride. For me, it was the precise moment when I realised that Vi Anand was two steps ahead of my imagination. A big thumbs up to Okka Kshanam.