'Olu' review: Dream voyage to a fantasy island

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Shane Nigam and Esther play the lead roles in the film.
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If you create something based on fantasy, there is no one to lay down any criteria. And when the creation is aesthetically elevating movie experience, it becomes a classic piece of cinematic artefact. Ace filmmaker Shaji N Karun treads through this aisle to showcase his premise of 'Olu'.

And he flies on the wings of imageries that are boundless, timeless and has no precedents to compare.

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It's a story centred on a youth, Vasu (Shane Nigam) and his family who reside in an isle steeped in the mystery of an unknown past. Its mythological connection brings tourists to this place occasionally. An aspiring painter who longs for a model to make his artistic creation, Vasu gets entwined with an invisible entity, an epitome of pure love. Vasu, may or may not be termed as psychedelic, gets his inspiration to make worthwhile paintings through the passionate but intangible communication with that character named Maya (Esther Anil).

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Shane Nigam proves that he is an actor in toto. Among the lot, he is the only one who dubs the dialogues convincingly. Even his little moves and tiny nuances minutely reflect the character and its emotional status. Meanwhile, Esther, who had acted as child artist in a few movies earlier, in her debut in a lead role looks ethereal. Submerged amid swaying water lillies, entwined by stalks and caressed by colourful, flitting fishes she manifests an abstract notion of beauty that bridges the gap between the eerie and the earthly, the magical and the real.

'Olu' appears to be an attempt by Shaji N Karun to explore the labyrinths of true love through a metaphysical world. He propounds his philosophy at the outset itself by announcing about attaining salvation through pure love. Through 'Olu', Karun attempts to establish the connection between body, mind, beauty, art, and senses - both in their sublime and hideous forms.

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The script by T D Ramakrishnan is lucid, except that the dialogue turns out bookish. Cinematography by late MJ Radhakrishnan and visual effects by Rishikant create a sparkling magical world for the director to revel. The panoramic views of the serene lake strewn with misty islets serve as an entrance to the fantastic world of 'Olu.' Music by Sreevalsan J Menon and BGM by Isaac Thomas complement the visual treat on the canvas.

Fantasies always transcend beauty and time, but at the same time if gone wrong it can go overboard. Karun, at certain areas, does seem to sweat to manoeuvrer the required connectivity between the magical and the real, especially after the movie journeys to Mumbai in the second half. Yet, the movie provides a wholesome entertainment that is aesthetically refreshing. It gives you a vast space to languish in the luxury of wistful imagination.

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