Review | Dileesh Pothan starrer 'O.Baby' sparks vital conversations on social oppression

O.Baby Posters
O.Baby movie posters. Photo: IMDb

Directed by Ranjan Pramod and led by the exceptional performance of Dileesh Pothan, O.Baby fearlessly explores the pressing issues of caste discrimination, societal oppression, and honour killing. 

The film tackles a subject of utmost relevance in today's society, shedding light on the gravity of these concerns. With masterful direction, Ranjan Pramod skillfully captures the essence of these issues, stimulating meaningful discussions that resonate long after the movie concludes.

Set amidst the lush forests of Kerala's Western Ghats, the movie tells the story of Dileesh's character, O. Baby, a dedicated caretaker responsible for overseeing a prominent family's thriving businesses. For generations, Baby's family has faithfully served this influential clan, with both sides sharing a bond akin to kinship. However, this dynamic is shattered when Baby's son, falls in love with a member of the family, setting off a chain of events that unravels the intricacies of their relationship. As the movie unfolds, it delves deeper into the complexities and consequences of this forbidden love affair, revealing the challenges and conflicts faced by all involved. 

'O.Baby' elicits a rollercoaster of emotions, with our hearts pounding in sync with the characters at numerous junctures. It serves as a powerful catalyst, triggering a profound sense of discomfort and righteous indignation, forcing us to confront the harsh reality of enduring oppression that persists in our society. The movie astutely captures this prevailing injustice, leaving us seething with anger and frustration, acutely aware of the limited avenues available to combat such deeply entrenched issues. In a way, the film transcends mere entertainment, as it deeply resonates with the audience, compelling us to contemplate our roles in addressing and rectifying these injustices. In a striking scene from the film, the patriarch expresses a stark belief: even a tree bearing golden fruits should be cut down if it encroaches too closely upon the house, posing a threat. This analogy unveils a harsh reality, illustrating how individuals who are underprivileged, dutifully serve their 'masters' can be cast aside without warning at the master's will.

While 'O.Baby' succeeds in building its premise, the initial half may occasionally feel sluggish. However, it is in the second half that the movie truly reveals its direction, as the intricate dynamics between the two families unfold. The breathtaking beauty of the forests and the Western Ghats acts as a cohesive force throughout the narrative. One could argue that the forest itself is a vital character, integral to the film's impact. There is a particularly memorable scene where Vishnu Agasthya's character, Stanley, embarks on an ATV ride through the forest, evoking echoes of a scene from 'In the Tall Grass'. It creates a sense of entrapment, where escape seems impossible within this intricate maze, amplified by the haunting ambience of the rain-soaked atmosphere.

Speaking of performances, the entire cast delivers exceptional portrayals, with a standout performance by Dileesh Pothan. Pothan effortlessly embodies the character of Baby, showcasing his unwavering commitment to protecting both the family he serves and his kin. His portrayal is incredibly natural and resonates deeply with the audience. Young talents Haniya Nafisa and Devadath, who play the roles of Mini and Basil respectively, also deliver remarkable performances, showcasing their impressive acting abilities.

'O.Baby' stands as a commendable endeavour by Ranjan Pramod to bring forth a profoundly serious theme to the public. While there may be minor flaws here and there, it undeniably deserves a spot on your must-watch list, particularly given the relevance it holds in contemporary times.

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