Director: Shaji N. Karun
Cast: Shane Nigam, Esther Anil, Kani Kusruthi
Shaji N. Karun’s Olu is the tale of an intricate relationship between a spirit called Maya (Esther Anil), who was killed and discarded deep down a river, and Vasu (Shane Nigam) who is an amateur painter. As the film begins, four men are seen discarding a girl’s body after raping and killing her. Then, underwater, her body is getting possessed by the wandering soul of a woman whom everyone calls Olu, meaning her. Vasu, on a full moon night, is able to feel Maya’s presence underwater and explains it to his parents. Eventually, the two fall in love, but Maya gets upset with Vasu’s contrasting ideas about love. The movie then takes a shift to another level when Vasu becomes a popular painter.
The story seems deep and likeable, but when it comes to individual performances and filmmaking, it is not impressive. Esther, who plays Maya, delivers a decent job but Shane’s portrayal of Vasu is unimpressive and lacks maturity. The movie’s initial release was in 2018 and since then, Shane has had a number of movies that made the audience go vocal on his acting skills. But compared to those films, especially Kumbalangi Nights and Ishq, Olu is a step backward. One cannot be blamed for leaving the cinema with the question, ‘was he apt or mature for the role?’
Kani Kusruthi was another actor among the rest of the cast that shines in this fantasy tale that narrates art and human relationships. Shaji N. Karun has an impressive filmography, but Olu does not match the levels of his previous films.
Cinematography and the way CGI is used are superlative as the underwater scenes and narratives at the mystical island would not have been possible without it. For Karun, it is the second collaboration with French producer Pierre Assouline, who co-produced Vanaprastham earlier.
Altogether, it is a new approach by Karun compared to his previous ones, but lacks any groundbreaking moments to glue the audience to the sea because of the lack of conviction.