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Oti Uttam review: Srijit Mukherji scores 10 on 10 in effort but an aerial Uttam Kumar fails him

Oti Uttam by Srijit Mukherji is an ambitious project with much hard work put in. However, the Uttam Kumar-starrer film is more of a fanboy-collage than a full-blown feature film 

Oti Uttam review: Srijit Mukherji scores 10 on 10 in effort but an aerial Uttam Kumar fails him
A scene from Oti Uttam

Last Updated: 01.20 AM, Mar 23, 2024


Oti Uttam story

Krishnendu (Anindya Sengupta) has been pursuing his PhD on the ‘Sociological Impact of the Smile of Uttam Kumar’. He crushes on a girl, Sohini (Roshni Bhattacharya). Krishnendu, a die-hard Uttam Kumar fan, brings down the icon’s spirit through planchette. His seance partner is his friend Gourab Chatterjee (who is actually Uttam’s grandson in real life). The iconic actor’s apparition takes along his grandson and starts working as Krishnendu’s wingman. But in an ironic twistSohini falls in love with none other than Uttam Kumar. That’s what the film is all about.  


Oti Uttam review

It goes without saying that a lot of labour went behind the making of Oti Uttam. Srijit Mukherji and his team went through hundreds of films by Uttam Kumar, procured the rights of the right ones, wrote and rewrote the script and dialogues multiple times to fit with the available footage, and finally, painstakingly, stitched everything up to make the film. As an idea, it is unique in Bengal and the director deserves kudos for taking this humongous risk. But unfortunately, all this together does not lead to a good film. 

To begin with, the story is cliche and a bit boring. Heroine falling for the hero’s friend is an outdated and overexposed idea that made multiple comebacks in different avatars from Sukhen Das-Ranjit Mullick’s Sankalpa to Shah Rukh Khan-Saif Ali Khan’s Kal Ho Na Ho. Take Uttam Kumar out of Oti Uttam, what are you really left with? Zilch. 

Evidently, it is the magic of Uttam Kumar that is used as the backbone of the film. And that, honestly, is a misery to watch. Despite the disclaimer of Uttam Kumar’s spectre in the beginning, the film becomes unbearable simply because of the continuity problem. One Uttam comes, another Uttam speaks with his specs on, the third Uttam screams with no glasses but with a moustache and the final Uttam disappears in thin air – and all of this happens in one shot. In fact, there is one shot where Uttam Kumar embarks on the Metro ride looking borderline creepy as he suddenly gets hold of a briefcase in his hand. Despite all the efforts, the film becomes jarring and hence, doesn’t make a pleasurable watch.  

Moreover, the film desperately lacks the signature wit and smartness of Srijit Mukherji. Even his last venture Dawshom Awbotaar is dotted with funny one-liners and smart dialogues. The first half of Oti Uttam is still bearable because of Anindya’s smartness. The second half is full of high-flowing sentiments that appear pathetic in today’s context. Even seasoned actors like Laboni Sarkar and Subhasish Mukhopadhyay fail to salvage the high-octane drama that unfolds in the second half.   

Oti Uttam scores fairly high in the acting and music department. Anindya is a delightful actor who has envious comic timing and a natural and unmistakable Bengali charm. Gourab and Roshni are also nice. Laboni and Subhasish, however, go overboard occasionally. 

The film has loud (yet matching) background music and nice songs. Some of the songs, including Bondhu Bhaabi, are already a hit. Saptak Sanai Das has done a good job there. 

Oti Uttam verdict

The film is high on experiment but not so high on quality. At times it looks like an undergrad project by a rookie film school student. If you want to watch Uttam Kumar, watch his old films. Srijit Mukherji has an enviable filmography with multiple accolades all over the country. Oti Uttam shows a lot of ambition but when you take the gimmick away, it lands on nothingness.  

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