Oh! Baby

Oh! Baby Story: A 70-year-old woman transforms into her 24-year-old self after she's photographed at a studio, changing her life and those of the people around her forever

Oh! Baby Review: You can understand why director Nandini Reddy felt doing a film like Oh! Baby could increase the risk of criticism. It's not an easy movie to remake, and there are a lot of things that could have gone wrong. To transform a cranky old woman into an attractive young lady while still being the cranky old at heart is no mean to task to pull off, and it can look unconvincing or even downright silly. But Nandini seems like a director fully in control and Samantha delivers arguably her best performance to date, and all we can say, is Oh! Baby.

The first 20 minutes are probably the most critical, as it sets the tone for the entire film. We are introduced to a cranky, whining old lady Baby (Lakshmi) who constantly fights with her daughter-in-law and snaps at almost everbody around her even as her doting friend Chanti (Rajendra Prasad) stands by her trying to calm her down. Her son Nani (Rao Ramesh) is a professor and when her grandson shows a passion for music, she sees in him her own lost dreams. When an altercation with her daughter-in-law results in Baby having to leave the house, all she yearns for is to be young again so that she can follow her passion to do the things she always wanted to. As fate would have it, she walks into a photo studio and transforms into her 24-year-old self again, and all hell breaks loose.

There's a lot to like about Oh! Baby. The manner in which the old lady behaves like a young woman in her 20s is hilarious. The writing is straightforward, the music (by Mickey J Meyer) is terrific and the acting is top-notch. There's a moment when Samantha looks at her son and leaps out of her chair to greet him, only to realise that she's not his 70-year-old mum but a different, much younger woman. Baby's conundrum is a joy to watch. Her swinging emotions, inner demons, missed opportunities, burning desire — all come to the fore.

However, the film often comes across as a bit too melodramatic, especially towards the second half. A run-time of 161 minutes is a tad too long, and there are quite a few moments where the film veers away from its light-hearted nature and becomes a bit of a sobfest. Some of the emotional scenes are well shot and touching, but there are more of these scenes than necessary.

Lakshmi as the older Baby is brilliant, but the way Samantha adapts her character and makes it her own is admirable. Her Rajahmundry accent is spot on and she never looks uncomfortable playing a much older character (not by appearance, mind you, but in nature). Rajendra Prasad is the film's backbone and is brilliant right through, as is Rao Ramesh, who's in his element again.

Save for moments in the latter part of the film which are a tad bit melodramatic, Oh! Baby is an enjoyable ride. It's a film that has its heart in the right place and has a lot of great moments to take away from. Nandini Reddy has successfully adapted Korean classic Miss Granny, and has made it her own, and Tollywood is richer for it.

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