O Teri is the debut film of Director Umesh Bist which has been produced by Atul Agnihotri casting Pulkit Samrat, Bilal Amrohi in the lead. It also has Anupam Kher, Vijay Raaz and Mandira Bedi in the important roles. The film revolves around the lives of two reporters (PP and AIDS, played by Pulkit and Bilal respectively) who aren’t intelligent enough to turn ordinary stories into thought-provoking ideas, which does prove detrimental for their careers.
In the beginning of the film we see the heroes partying in a nightclub with leggy blondes, singing: “You got me going crazy with your butt patlo.” At the end of O Teri, we have a salute to Mahatma Gandhi with the quote: “Be the change you wish to see.” That should give you some idea of how schizophrenic this film is. In between these two extremes, director Umesh Bist gives us the cheerfully low-IQ story of two television reporters unwittingly caught up in scams perpetrated by corrupt politicians, greedy industrialists and fraudulent media houses.There’s a bridge that collapses, an unethical female editor and a dead body that is carted from one location to another.
The film opens with the murder of an honest officer investigating the proceedings of the ‘Asian Games’, a project handled by Kher. Raaz, who belongs to the opposition party, kills the officer with an intention of holding Kher responsible for his death. But his plan takes a wretched U-turn which leads to a sequence of bizarre events.
Prantabh Pratap aka PP (Pulkit Samrat) and Anand Ishwaram Devdutt Subramanium aka AIDS (Bilal Amrohi) are two washed out journalists, who are in search of scam stricken story to impress their boss Monsoon (Sarah Jane Dias), who heads the news channel. Unimpressed by their lame efforts, the guys are desperate to find a big political scam to expose. Their wish is fulfilled when corrupt politician Khwaja (Kher) hooks up with noodle-strapped, fuchsia-lipped media manager Sherry (Bedi) to handle corrupt allocations of contracts in Delhi’s Asian Olympic Games. As a CBI investigator Tripathi gets murdered and Khwaja’s political rival Kilol (Raaz) wants him exposed, the two reporters find themselves caught in serious cross-fire. The story takes a turn when a dead body accidentally lands up in their car. Later, a bridge collapses and finally, a CD which exposes a major scam involving a politician [Anupam Kher] falls in their hands. What happens next?
The election fever is heating up and not a day passes when one doesn’t hear of charges of corruption, bribery, scams, kickbacks and frauds committed by certain politicians. Fodder for drama? Post BODYGUARD, one expects Alvira and Atul Agnihotri to deliver yet another masala entertainer — a remake, perhaps — with celebrated stars. But the Agnihotris take a U-turn with O TERI. They opt for an issue-based film, cast relative newcomers, but package it with commercial ingredients to connect with the aam junta. Does the film strike a chord?
The plot of O TERI had the potential to explore the murky games that politicians play. Handled adroitly, the outcome could’ve been revealing and rewarding. But O TERI spends too much time and footage on inconsequential things, which deviates your attention from the core issue. While the first hour is engrossing in parts — a few episodes are amusing — the graph of the movie spirals downwards in the post-interval portions. Reasons: the humor is banal, the laughs are missing, the writing lacks meat, the sequence of events leading to the culmination just don’t work.
O Teri’s story picks up recent corruption scandals, mashing these with classic cinematic takes on scams. Familiar themes are deployed, including a laash that keeps vanishing and popping up, CDs of mantras and phone tapping that get confused, collapsing bridges, spiraling behind-the-scenes deals, etc. Amidst this, PP and AIDS, all biceps, cleavage and no brains, struggle to stay alive – and get famous. Given these elements, O Teri could have been bitingly hilarious, but it isn’t. The overburdened story unravels under a palpable nervousness to please all. Therefore, too frequent songs, too many gaalis from Kilol, too many subplots (from gamlas to gay sex) and too many poor jokes spoil the show.
Yes It reminds you Kundan Shah’s ageless classic JAANE BHI DO YAARO. O TERI brings back memories of that film. Even the characters portrayed by Pulkit and Bilal bear similarity to Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani’s characters in JAANE BHI DO YAARO [Shah and Baswani portrayed struggling photographers in that film]. Coincidental?
The soundtrack is foot-tapping, but an overdose of songs [in the first half] mars the impact.
Pulkit as PP is Pitch perfect in his part. He seems to be getting better with every film. Bilal as AIDS have done a decent job, radiates confidence, but the rawness is too evident at times. Their chemistry may remind you of Amar- Prem (Aamir Khan and Salman Khan) from the cult film ‘Andaz Apna Apna’. However, the two young boys have miles to cover in order to establish themselves as power-packed performers. As an actor Sarah Jane Dias does quite well. Have to work harder. But the actor who steals the show is Anupam Kher. He handles his part with effortless ease. He will leave you absolutely speechless with his perforamce. Mandira Bedi is effectual. Vijay Raaz’s does his job well. His dialogue delivery worth applause. The support Cast Manoj Pahwa, Razzaq Khan and others have done their part well.
In addition, the undercurrent of sarcasm — so essential in a film that mocks at the system and also at the bureaucrats — is clearly missing. Furthermore, Umesh succumbs to the pressures of making a masala entertainer, which results in the storyteller packing songs and item tracks, which look forced in the scheme of things. In addition, the run time, although controlled [less than 2 hours], seem never-ending, more so towards the second half.
The similarities notwithstanding, first-time director Umesh Bist borrows from real-life episodes, emphasizes on the politician-builder nexus, throws light on corruption amongst the top ranks of leadership, but ensures he sugar-coats the bitter truth with funny lines, amusing episodes, glitzy songs… in short, O TERI is a satire with a Bollywood slant.
The idea behind the film is brilliant but the execution leaves you dissatisfied. Director Umesh Bist tries to establish two political parties with corrupt ministers – Anupam Kher and Vijay Raaz – as their representatives. The film is not a complete waste. It has a few good moments Scattered Sporadically. It comes across as a spoof on the present political system drenched in various colors of corruption.The film takes a dig on Media, Government and political leaders. It had the potential to be a smart take on political scams and corrupt bureaucrats, but unfortunately the film crumbles and simply loses the satirical plot leaving you sigh because of a shoddy screenplay. It has a great concept, but could have been a much better product