Odia Movie Four Review: A Satisfying Feast

Last night I received a link to watch FOUR (I waited till 28th Jan to download the app but unfortunately it wasn’t available) and the first thing we (me and my husband, who is a bigger movie freak than me) did in the morning was to watch the movie. When I watched the trailer of FOUR, I had written that the movie should do justice to the trailer and to our expectations. Interestingly, FOUR not only does justice but surpasses its trailer and our expectations.

In a time when we are overfed with suspense, horror and psychological thrillers on national and international OTTs, it’s a big challenge for a director to come up with stories which are fresh and unpredictable. Hence, story-wise the director does an impressive job though in terms of uniqueness; the second story (Paradox) gets those brownie points from me.

However, rather than a story-driven movie, I would call FOUR a performance-driven movie because it is undoubtedly a celebration of extraordinary performances. We had a tough time rating the performances (we are still confused as most of them are outstanding) and I don’t even remember if we had ever done that for an Odia movie before. The movie once again establishes the fact that there are no bad actors. They just need a good director who can make them act.

After a long time, I was overwhelmed to see so many good Odia actors together. Satya Ranjan, Nitya Prakash aka Khokan Swain, Prasenjeet Mohapatra and Swastik Choudhury amazed me with their flawless acting skills whereas Ashwini Ray Mohapatra showed a lot of potentials. He has a great screen presence and I would love to see him more. Partha Sarathi Ray’s impressive eye expression was a treat to watch but his little screen space left me craving for more. Surprisingly, the first time actor Kalkee Krushna shined thoroughly in her complex role though she needs to work on her accent. Unfortunately, Rhea Resham was quite average. Somehow I felt she wasn’t comfortable with the shifting of two different languages and it affected her acting.

As I am not an expert to comment on the technical aspects of the movie I opt to shy away from it but being a common audience the movie succeeds in making me glued to my seat. FOUR demands your undivided attention and makes you gawk at its every frame, backdrop and it’s top-notch cinematography. The BGM is simply fantastic and the musician needs a standing ovation.

In terms of screenplay, in the first story (Animal) a villager in the middle of a mountainous forest speaking chaste Odia and mouthing sophisticated dialogues straight from a book was a bit unnatural for me. I felt there was an overdose of “Kabata Khola Priye”. It could have been crisp and minimal. Again, I found the third story’s (Shadow) climax a little bit vague and choppy but it might be a deliberate attempt by the writer-director.

Lastly, hats off to AAO NXT for believing in unconventional stories and promoting young creative directors like Abhisek Swain and writers like Ms Subhashree to make such an intriguing film. FOUR comes out as an answer to all our whines, complaints, criticisms and grumblings regarding the contemporary Odia cinema. This movie needs to reach the educated audiences of Odisha who have stopped watching Odia Movies. I request the producers to make it available on more than one platform and especially on one national OTT because FOUR deserves it. Thank you so much for this wonderful cinematic experience. 👏🙌🏻

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