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Oh Baby Is An Over-cute Swap Story



Oh Baby(Telugu)

Starring Laxmi, Samantha Akkineni

Directed by  B V Nandini Reddy

Rating: ** ½ (2 and a  half  stars)

If only this personality-transformative  comedy—is it a comedy? There is so much wailing and shrieking  in the midst  of  the  laughter—had not played it so cute, this  could have been Telugu cinema’s own Miss Granny, the  2014  Korean  film that director  B V Nandini Reddy so  optimistically  endeavours to adapt  into Telugu…with  mixed results. 

For starters  the idea, the core if you will, seems swimmingly apt.  Bridging  the generation gap that has  divided the Indian  joint family  into  sharply polarized  halves  featuring the nuclear and  non-nuclear  family on  the  two sides  of the boxing ring,  the  film brings  us two gloriously over-the-top  women characters from two different generations , joined together  at the hip by….errrr…God.

Jagapathi Babu appears  as  ‘God’. Oh God!

 Veteran actress Laxmi whom we all remember as the very alluring Julie in  the  1970s remains  saucy and sexy in her  old age.She  is  delightful as a cantankerous  grandmother nicknamed ‘Baby’  who has seen  too much of life to bother with pleasantries. She  cuts to the chase so  unceremoniously and such peppery aggression ,   that her loved  ones her  are reduced to  a cringe fringe.

The supporting cast only voices its  disagreeability about Granny’s  grumpy tirades. They are  there with a  purpose, albeit in a  marginal  way.

Sadly  the Laxmi portion ends  sooner than expected.After all, this is a film designed  to  spotlight  Samantha Akkineni’s  star power.  She takes charge of the  transformative  in no time at all, as Laxmi is transformed  into  Samantha . . Most  of  what  follows  is  a goofy over-cute joyride  for  its leading actress as she’s now  a 70-year old in a 24-year  old woman’s body.

So sweet.

There are  jokes about physical fitness and  nostalgic  nods to classic  actresses  of yesteryears.  But beyond these  superficial  efforts at creating a  timeline, the narrative makes no effort  to  pull  us into a ruminative journey into the  universe that  binds the  two actress from diverse  generations as one  personality.

 At  most Oh baby is strewn  with  fun moments, all highlighting Samantha’s star power: Samantha  dancing with a rock band helmed  by  Baby’s  grandson(Teja Sajja, likeable), force-flirting with  Naga Shourya(who  falls for her  not knowing that the lovely lady is  veteran actress Laxmi transformed  into Samantha Akkenini , ha ha), Samantha meeting up with dead husband (Adivi Shesh,pleasant  in a fleeting cameo), and—biggest surprise for  the fans—Samantha’s husband Naga Chaitanya also  shows up  in a scene…

There  is enough  fuel here to keep the leading lady’s  fans  all fired up. But I am not sure if  Oh Baby  fulfills the  original Korean  film’s aim to  bring out the domestic dynamics of  contemporary suburban  lifestyles  in the  context of traditional values.  There  are generations clashing, yes. But  the clamber is  strictly superficial .Oh Babyaims low.And seems  to enjoy being there.

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