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Oopiri

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Oopiri
Oopiri Telugu film Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster of the Telugu version
Directed by Vamsi Paidipally
Produced by Prasad V Potluri
Written by Vamsi Paidipally
Hari
Solomon
Abburi Ravi
(Telugu)
Raju Murugan
(Tamil)
Based on The Intouchables
by Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano
Starring Akkineni Nagarjuna
Karthi
Tamannaah
Music by Gopi Sunder
Cinematography P. S. Vinod
Edited by Madhu
(Telugu)
Praveen K. L.
(Tamil)
Production
company
Release date
  • 25 March 2016 (2016-03-25)
Running time
158 minutes
(Telugu)
179 minutes
(Tamil)
Country India
Language Telugu
Tamil
Budget 500–600 million[a]
Box office est.1 billion[3]

Oopiri (Breath) is a 2016 Indian comedy-drama film directed by Vamsi Paidipally. A remake of Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano's French comedy-drama The Intouchables (2011), the film was produced by Prasad V. Potluri and Kavin Anne of PVP Cinema in Telugu and Tamil, the latter as Thozha (Companion). It features Akkineni Nagarjuna, Karthi, and Tamannaah in the lead roles; Prakash Raj, Ali, Vivek, and Jayasudha play supporting roles.

The film focuses on the lives of Vikramadhitya (Nagarjuna), a quadriplegic billionaire, and Seenu (Karthi), his ex-convict caretaker. Their realisation of the primacy of life and relationships over money and disability forms the major part of its story. Gopi Sunder composed the film's soundtrack and score, and P. S. Vinod was its cinematographer. Madhu and Praveen K. L. edited the Telugu and Tamil versions, respectively. Principal photography began in March 2015, ending the following February. Most of the film was shot in and around Chennai, Hyderabad, and in Europe in Paris and Belgrade.

Produced on a budget of 500–600 million, Oopiri and Thozha were released globally on 25 March 2016. Both received critical acclaim for the performances of the principal cast, the cinematography, and Paidipally's work in adapting the original. They were commercially successful, grossing over 1 billion worldwide.

Plot

Vikramadhitya is a wealthy entrepreneur who owns a group of businesses. In Paris, a paragliding accident leaves him a quadriplegic. To ensure his girlfriend Nandini's happiness, Vikramadhitya's friend and legal adviser, Prasad, conveys a message on his behalf that he is not interested in marrying her.

Five years later, Vikramadhitya leads a hopeless life with his secretary Keerthi, his cook Lakshmi, and a few servants. He and Keerthi interview candidates for a caretaker position; many seem pretentious and manipulative. Seenu, a paroled convict, applies for the job in accordance with his lawyer's (Lingam) advice; the job would prove to the court that Seenu is leading a law-abiding life, closing his case. He is detested by his mother (a railway clerk) and his siblings, Swathi and Kanna.

Vikramadhitya, finding Seenu honest and unpretentious, hires him. He defends his decision to Prasad, saying that Seenu is the right person for the time being since he is the only one who does not pity him. Initially reluctant, Seenu learns the extent of Vikramadhitya's disability and assists him with all his needs. He is attracted to Keerthi, who rejects his advances quickly and gives him an inferiority complex.

Seenu learns that Vikramadhitya has a purely epistolary relationship with a woman called Priya. Seenu encourages him to meet her, but Vikramadhitya opposes it, fearing her reaction when she discovers his disability. Swathi's marriage is opposed by her lover's father, Kalidasu, who ridicules their economic status. Vikramadhitya learns about this, and coerces Kalidasu (through Prasad) without Seenu's knowledge. The marriage is arranged, and Seenu earns Swathi's respect.

After celebrating his birthday, Vikramadhitya becomes ill during the night and is saved by his doctors. Seenu learns about Vikramadhitya's past from Prasad, and suggests a vacation in Paris. Vikramadhitya agrees and he, Seenu, and Keerthi leave for Paris. Seenu keeps Vikramadhitya happy and boosts his morale, which impresses Keerthi. He wagers that he will propose to Keerthi if Vikramadhitya impresses Jenny, a French dancer. Despite his disability, Vikramadhitya charms Jenny with his wit. Seenu is then forced to propose to Keerthi, who later accepts.

Vikramadhitya meets Nandini, her husband Abhinav, and their daughter Aadhya, and Seenu tells her about Vikramadhitya's accident and its aftermath. Relieved that Nandini is happy, he returns to India and his joyous attitude makes Prasad and Lakshmi happy. Later, Kanna gets in trouble with a gang, and meets Seenu at Vikramadhitya's mansion. Vikramadhitya, recognising Seenu's need to support his family, releases him from his obligations and suggests he may not want to push a wheelchair all his life. Although Seenu becomes a cab driver, leads a responsible life and regains his mother's love, Vikramadhitya is unhappy with his new caretakers and becomes a recluse.

A worried Prasad contacts Seenu, who arrives and drives Vikramadhitya off in a car to Vishakapatnam. They dress elegantly, and visit a restaurant with a beautiful ocean view. Seenu leaves moments before Priya arrives. Vikramadhitya looks outside through the window and sees Seenu, who smiles at him and walks away.

Cast

Production

Development

Karan Johar and Guneet Monga acquired the Indian remake rights to Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano's French comedy-drama film, The Intouchables (2011) in May 2014. They planned a Hindi version, directed by Mohit Suri.[4] Johar and Monga later authorised PVP Cinema to remake the film in regional languages, postponing their previous plans. Vamsi Paidipally was chosen to direct a bilingual production, entitled Oopiri in Telugu and Thozha in Tamil.[5] Oopiri is the first Indian remake of The Intouchables. It was also the first Indian remake of a film produced by Gaumont Film Company.[6]

N. T. Rama Rao Jr. was signed to play one of the two male leads. At Rama Rao Jr.'s suggestion, Paidipally forwarded the script to actor and producer Akkineni Nagarjuna for the other male lead. Nagarjuna asked the director to remove the flashback scenes, opting for a realistic version closer to the original. Paidipally agreed, and the script was reworked in two months.[7] Production was scheduled to begin in December 2014, when Nagarjuna would be available. In an interview with Deccan Chronicle, the actor said that the film's theme would be similar to Missamma (1955).[8] Rama Rao Jr. left the project due to scheduling conflicts with Nannaku Prematho (2016),[9] and was replaced by Karthi in October 2014.[10]

Gopi Sunder was signed as the film's music director, his first collaboration with Paidipally.[11] Oopiri had two launch ceremonies: the first on 11 February 2015 in Hyderabad[12] and the second on 15 March in Chennai.[13] P. S. Vinod was the film's cinematographer.[14] Paidipally worked on the screenplay, assisted by Hari and Solomon with the adaptation.[15] Abburi Ravi wrote the dialogue for Oopiri,[16] and Karthi asked filmmaker Raju Murugan to do the same for Thozha.[17] Madhu and Praveen K. L. edited the Telugu and Tamil versions.[18]

Casting

I couldn’t use any gestures apart from speech and facial expressions. For a few scenes, they tied my hands beneath my jacket so that, involuntarily, I wouldn’t move my limbs. I felt like a Bharatanatyam dancer, having to emote with my eyes.
 – Nagarjuna on playing a quadriplegic, in a March 2016 interview with The Hindu[7]

Nagarjuna played the wheelchair-bound quadriplegic in the film, and a 2.5 million customised wheelchair was imported from Sweden for the role.[19] An assistant checked to see if the actor moved his limbs during filming, and scenes had to be re-shot a number of times. Nagarjuna found the process "extremely challenging", and his legs sometimes became numb.[20] Oopiri was Karthi's first Telugu film, although he was popular with Telugu-speaking audiences who saw dubbed versions of his Tamil films. Rajeev Kamineni of PVP Cinema told The Hindu that Karthi was cast to combine actors who were audience favourites and had not collaborated before.[21]

Two smiling young women, one with her hair in a bun and the other with her hair over her shoulder
Tamannaah (right) was cast as the female lead when Shruti Haasan (left) left the film due to scheduling conflicts.

Karthi played the caretaker, reprising Omar Sy's role in the original.[22] He called his character "terribly insensitive", but becoming refined at the end.[23] Despite his fluency in Telugu, Karthi wanted to practice his dialogue in advance since scenes in both languages would be shot at the same time.[24] He had to be louder in Oopiri, and used local Tamil slang in Thozha.[25] The actor said that some changes were made in the remake, since some situations in the original "just could not work in the Indian scenario".[22] Shruti Haasan was chosen as the female lead in January 2015.[26] After she walked out in March, citing scheduling conflicts,[27] she was replaced by Tamannaah.[28] Her character, Keerthi, was modelled on the secretary and the caretaker in the original.[29] The actress had to look corporate for the role, which she called a "bridge of sorts between the protagonists"; she was a "constant spectator to every emotion they go through".[30]

After Haasan left the film, PVP Cinema claimed that her scheduled dates (from 10 December 2014 to 8 April 2015) were assigned for her convenience and the actress was civilly and criminally liable. The Nampally city court restricted her from agreeing to any new film and ordered a police investigation.[31] According to Haasan's spokesperson, neither the actress nor Raaj Kamal Films International were legally notified.[32] Haasan withdrew her defamation suit in April 2015 after R. Sarathkumar and S. Thanu intervened, and the court dismissed PVP Cinema's case.[33]

Prakash Raj, Ali, Vivek, and Tanikella Bharani were cast in key supporting roles,[15][16] with Jayasudha and Nikkita Anil playing Karthi's mother and sister.[34][35] Kalpana made her Telugu-film debut in Oopiri,[16] but she died in her sleep at age 50 during filming in Hyderabad.[36] Anushka Shetty and Adivi Sesh made cameo appearances as a couple;[37] the former played Nagarjuna's ex-girlfriend in the film.[38] Gabriella Demetriades was cast in August 2015 after auditioning with five other international models in Hyderabad,[39] and the film was her South Indian acting debut.[40] Nora Fatehi made a special appearance in a song,[41] and Shriya Saran had a cameo appearance.[42]

Filming

Belgrade at night, reflected in a river
Oopiri is the first South Indian film to be made in Belgrade (pictured).[43]

According to PVP Cinema's Kamineni, a substantial portion of Oopiri would be filmed abroad.[21] Principal photography began in Chennai on 16 March 2015. Scenes with Karthi and Jayasudha were filmed in a purpose-built house set.[34] By the time Haasan left the film, the first shooting schedule had wrapped.[31] After completing schedules in Chennai and Hyderabad, Karthi and Tamannaah joined the film set in Dubai in May; several scenes were filmed in a rented, palatial house.[44] Paidipally, who planned a 25-day shooting schedule in Paris and Lyon beginning in June, left to scout locations.[45] A month-long European shooting schedule began in July in Belgrade, and Oopiri was the first South Indian film made there. After Belgrade, filming continued in Paris, Lyon and Ljubljana.[46] Key scenes, including a car chase, and some songs were filmed as part of the schedule.[47]

The car-chase scene was filmed over eight nights, due to changes in the weather. It was shot near the Eiffel Tower, which Paidipally called the "obvious choice to show the moment of triumph" in Vikramadhitya's life.[48] On 1 August, Nagarjuna tweeted that the shooting schedule would wrap in ten days.[49] A song including Nagarjuna, Karthi, and Fatehi was filmed in November in Hyderabad.[41] Principal photography wrapped in February 2016, and post-production commenced shortly.[50] Thozha's filming was delayed due to Nagarjuna's lack of fluency in Tamil,[7] but at Karthi's insistence he delivered his own lines.[51] Tamannaah found her dialogue simple and realistic and delivered her own lines in Oopiri, the first Telugu film to include her voice.[29]

Music

Gopi Sunder composed the film's score and seven-song soundtrack.[52][53] Ramajogayya and Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry wrote the Telugu version's lyrics, and the lyrics for Thozha's soundtrack were by Madhan Karky.[54] According to Karky, all the lyrics in Oopiri except "Door Number Okati" had different meanings in Thozha, and Karthi and Paidipally wanted Thozha's songs to suit the Tamil audience's sensibilities.[54] The soundtracks of the Tamil and Telugu versions were released on 26 February 2016 and 1 March 2016 in Chennai and Hyderabad, respectively.[55] They were marketed by Times Music South, also known as Junglee Music.[52][53]

The Times of India gave Oopiri's soundtrack four stars, calling it a "winner on all counts" and Sunder is "increasingly becoming a force to be reckon with in [Telugu cinema]".[56] Karthik Srinivasan, writing for The Hindu, praised Sunder's usage of solo violin pieces and chorus hooks in Thozha's "Pudhidhaa" ("Oka Life" in Oopiri).[57] Siddharth K of Sify noted that the soundtrack of Thozha has influences of Malayalam film soundtracks in the slow paced songs despite being designed keeping the Telugu and Tamil sensibilities in mind. He found the songs "Baby Odathey" ("Baby Aagodhu" in Telugu), "Nagarum" ("Eppudu" in Telugu), and "Eiffel Mele" ("Ayyo Ayyo" in Telugu) likeable and gave the soundtrack three stars.[58]

Telugu version[52]
No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Baby Aagodhu" Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry Shankar Mahadevan 2:39
2. "Oka Life" Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry Karthik 4:46
3. "Ayyo Ayyo" Ramajogayya Sastry Ranjith, Suchitra 3:48
4. "Nevvemicchavo" Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry Vijay Prakash 2:07
5. "Podham" Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry Haricharan 4:45
6. "Door Number Okati" Ramajogayya Sastry Geetha Madhuri 4:05
7. "Eppudu" Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry Karthik 4:47
Total length: 27:36

All lyrics written by Madhan Karky.

Tamil version[53]
No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Baby Odadhe" Shankar Mahadevan 2:39
2. "Pudidha" Karthik 4:46
3. "Eiffil Mele" Ranjith, Suchitra 3:48
4. "Enadhuyire" Vijay Prakash 2:07
5. "Thozha" Anirudh Ravichander 4:45
6. "Door Number" Geetha Madhuri 4:05
7. "Nagarum" Karthik 4:47
Total length: 27:36

Release and reception

Smiling young man and woman against a white wall
Filmmaker Prabhu Deva (left) and Tamannaah at Oopiri's screening in Mumbai

Oopiri and Thozha were released globally on 25 March 2016, simultaneously with Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Nishikant Kamat's Rocky Handsome.[59] Oopiri was released on 500 screens in Andhra Pradesh and 200 screens in Telangana; Thozha was released on nearly 400 screens in Tamil Nadu. The overseas screen count was 225. The film was also released on 120 screens in Karnataka, 70 screens in Kerala, and nearly 100 screens in North India.[60]

Telugu film producer Dil Raju distributed Oopiri in the Nizam region, paying 80 million for the rights.[b][62] PVP Cinema, collaborating with others, distributed the film in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and the remaining Indian markets;[62] Tamil Nadu distribution rights cost 120 million,[62] and SPI Cinemas distributed Thozha in the Chennai and Chengalpet markets.[60] PVP Cinema also distributed Oopiri and Thozha overseas for 40 million.[62]

The television broadcast rights of Thozha were acquired by Sun TV Network; it is scheduled for its global television premiere on 2 October 2016 coinciding with Gandhi Jayanti.[63]

Critical response

Man standing at a podium in front of two microphones
Smiling man in a grey shirt
Nagarjuna (left) and Karthi were critically acclaimed for their performances as a quadriplegic billionaire and his caretaker, respectively.[64][65]

Baradwaj Rangan, writing for The Hindu, found Thozha enjoyable despite its lack of narrative finesse and called it a light, pleasant film comparable to Bangalore Days (2014).[66] Sangeetha Devi Dundoo, also in The Hindu, gave Oopiri four stars and called it a "rare film that justifies its hype". She wrote that Nagarjuna's portrayal of Vikramadhitya was "age-defying, graceful and restrained" and praised the rest of the cast, Vinod's cinematography, and Sunder's score.[67] Pranita Jonnalagedda of The Times of India gave Oopiri four stars out of five, writing that it "sets a benchmark for adaptations in Telugu cinema" and "paves the way for more exciting genres". She praised the principal cast's performances and the film's climax.[68]

According to Anupama Subramaniam of Deccan Chronicle, Thozha had an "alluring story" supported by "extraordinary performances, sound technical departments and rich production values". Suresh Kavirayani, also in Deccan Chronicle, found Oopiri a "beautiful and emotional journey". Both gave the film 3.5 stars out of five.[69][70] Writing for India Today, Kirubhakar Purushothaman also gave the film 3.5 stars out of five, calling it a decent remake which "retains the soul of the original" with "the right cast and the perfect team".[71] Karthik Keramalu of CNN-News18 also gave Oopiri 3.5 stars out of five. Keramalu called it the best of Paidipally's career so far and praised the principal cast's performances.[72]

S. Saraswathi of Rediff.com gave Thozha three stars out of five, praising the film's screenplay, visuals, and performances.[73] Sify also gave the film three stars out of five and called it a "breezy feel good ride"; its reviewer praised its performances and visuals, but criticised its length.[74] Gautaman Bhaskaran, writing for the Hindustan Times, gave Thozha 2.5 stars out of five; Bhaskaran found the film "[u]nduly verbose" and wrote that it "loses its sense of male bonding—particularly after it veers into love stories".[75]

Box office

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted that Oopiri opened in 14th place at the U.S. box office, an "enviable achievement", and the film earned $76,804 from its previews.[76] It grossed $210,233 on its first day, its earnings increasing by 70.95 percent the second day—according to Adarsh, rare for an Indian film in the U.S. During its first weekend, Oopiri grossed $646,273 (43.2 million).[77] According to trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai, Thozha netted 81.5 million (with a distributor share of 48 million) at the Tamil Nadu box office and earned 11.4 million in Chennai over a three-day period.[78] The film grossed 290 million globally over its first weekend (with a distributor share of about 200 million), a 40-percent return on distributor investment.[62][79]

Oopiri earned $1,005,739 (66.7 million) in four days, the 17th Telugu film to cross the million-dollar mark in the United States.[80] It grossed $1,167,611 (77.3 million) over eight days, and became the 11th-highest-grossing Telugu film in the U.S.[81] In ten days, Oopiri and Thozha grossed 233 million and 173 million in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu respectively.[82] It earned $1,385,179 (91.5 million) in ten days at the U.S. box office to become the eighth-highest-grossing Telugu film of all time in that country.[83] By the end of the third weekend, Oopiri and Thozha had grossed 847.5 million and were declared commercially successful.[84]

By the end of its third week, Oopiri grossed more than $1.5 million and became the fourth-highest-grossing Telugu film of all time in the U.S.[85] It earned $1,559,065 (103.7 million) in 24 days[86] and $1,567,151 (104.5 million) in 31 days in that country.[87] During their full runs, both versions grossed over 1 billion and netted about 630 million.[3]

Legacy

Inspired by the film, paraplegic television personality Sujatha Barla established the Challengers on Wheels-Celebrating Life community for the physically disabled in April 2016.[88] Judge G. Neelima took 60 underprivileged female students in Balasadan, Warangal to a special screening of Oopiri on the eve of Ugadi.[c][90]

Notes

  1. ^ International Business Times India estimates the film's budget as 500 million,[1] and Sakshi estimates the film's budget as 600 million.[2]
  2. ^ For film-trade purposes, the Nizam region includes the districts of Gulbarga, Bidar, and Raichur in Karnataka and seven districts in the Marathwada region, including Aurangabad, Latur, Nanded, Parbhani, Beed, Jalna and Osmanabad apart from the state of Telangana.[61]
  3. ^ Ugadi celebrates the new year on the Deccan. It falls on a different day each year because the Hindu calendar is lunisolar.[89]

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