Oxygen movie cast: Gopichand, Raashi Khanna, Anu Emmanuel, Jagapati Babu, Shaam, Chandra Mohan, Ashish Vidyarthi
Oxygen movie director: A. M. Jyothi Krishna
Oxygen movie rating: 2 stars
Some films these days have a tough time passing the litmus test of the censor board. Most of the times, films are found offensive because they have many cuss words or are lady-oriented. Even some filmmakers fail to get the nod from the censor board in time for their mistakes in completing paperwork. But, still one cannot assure a film will have a smooth release unless it meets the approval of some fringe groups. Director Jyothi Krishna’s Oxygen, starring Gopichand, is a case study on how to make a film without offending any individual, group, political party, fans of a popular actor (living or dead) or even an NGO.
Jyothi has created a poster boy for Indian culture in form of Krishna Prasad (Gopichand), who lands at the airport from the US draped in dhoti and wearing his love for his culture. He soon breaks into a song in a rural setup where he enjoys the beauty and offerings of the village and its people. He is there to meet his prospective bridegroom Shruti (Raashi Khanna), who doesn’t like him even after he repeatedly proves that he is worthy of consideration for a Nobel Prize.
Shruti even bluntly tells Krishna that she doesn’t like to marry him and asks him to leave the town without even saying goodbye to anyone. But, she takes interest in him, after she sees him beat up a group of goons who tried to kill her family. Cut to next scene, she falls at his feet expressing her desire to marry him. The transformation in her character and her decision is so extreme that it plays up the usual patriarchal idea of hero taming the self-reliant heroine and making the woman realise her ‘mistake’.
But, that’s not the actual shocker. The major twist in the story happens during the same scene, which reveals the true identity of Krishna. He is there to seek revenge and save the country from a dubious businessman. He injected himself into Shruti’s life for that mission and what is it is explained in a flashback sequence, where we are introduced to Krishna’s…err. Sorry, in the flashback he is Major Sanjeev. He has a perfect life that comes with a beautiful family and a girlfriend Geetha (Anu Emmanuel). From that point on, the film seems like an overdramatized version of statutory warning about the injuries of smoking tobacco.
The anti-tobacco campaign is taken to a whole new level in the film. A small girl, suffering from cancer, gets a monologue of sorts on passive smoking that looks inspired by the disclaimer reel played in theaters before the movies. Jyothi’s writing tries to force out emotions out of the viewers with message-heavy scenes but fails.
And the hero of the film, Krishna aka Sanjeev is unbreakable. Bullets can’t kill him, fire can’t burn him, and no knife is too sharp to cut him. Even when he is on foot, he can match the speed of a moving jeep and topple it with his bare hands.
To sum up Krishna aka Sanjeev, he is a hero obsessed with Indian culture. He fights to protect the borders and leads a campaign against tobacco. Except for our common sense, this film can’t offend any section of the society.