‘O2’ movie review: This medical drama gets the job done despite its flaws

Ashika Ranganath stars in ‘O2’.
| Photo Credit: PRK Productions/YouTube

O2, labeled as a medical thriller, steers clear of the typical science-focused narrative abundant with technical jargon and emotionally distant intellectuals. Instead, directors Raghav Nayak and Prashanth Raj opt for a straightforward storytelling method, meshing a sense of the future with relatable, human drama that captivates gracefully.

In the film, Ashika Ranganath portrays Shraddha, a brilliant physician recovering from a tragic event in her childhood where she witnessed her father’s death. Haunted by this experience, she dedicates her life to beat death itself by inventing O2, an injectable solution that revitalizes brain cells and generates oxygenated blood post-cardiac arrest. Despite its potential, the established medical community greets her discovery with skepticism.

Writers and directors Raghav and Prashanth employ a non-linear narrative to weave their tale, striking the right balance with each scene, character, and line of dialogue, prudently trimming any excess to keep the film on solid ground—a strategy that pays off by offsetting some of the weaker points in the script.

O2 (Kannada)

Director: Raghav Nayak and Prashanth Raj

Cast: Ashika Ranganath, Siri Ravikumar, Naveen Tej, Raghav Nayak, Puneeth

Runtime: 109 minutes 

Storyline: A talented doctor comes to terms with her haunting past while pushing the boundaries of medical science with her innovative discovery

O2 is more than a medical thriller, incorporating a love story that becomes a pivotal part of the film, lending it emotional depth. Shraddha, who is silently battling her inner turmoil, finds comfort and joy with Osho (played by director Raghav Nayak), a charismatic radio jockey, and their unconventional romance blossoms, lending warmth and passion to the storyline.

The film’s runtime, under two hours, imposes a challenge to smoothly layer multiple conflicts and resolve them persuasively. Despite its ambitious effort, O2 stumbles in its final stages, with swift transitions that undermine some major story reveals. This hurried cadence suggests there was more to be said, but the time wasn’t sufficient. Here lies the critique regarding the choice to include songs in a concept-focused, compact film, which might have been better spent delving deeper into the plot.

Raghav Nayak offers a genuine portrayal of a man in the throes of love, steering clear of overdoing the performance. Ashika Ranganath astonishes with a commanding presence first noted in Yogaraj Bhat’s Mugulu Nage (2017), proving that strong, substantive roles for women lead to memorable performances. She compellingly plays both the professional trying to validate her invention and the individual wrestling with personal scars.

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O2 is a commendable first outing for Raghav Nayak and Prashanth Raj. Selecting a scientific theme for their filmmaking entrance is a bold move, though occasional rookie indicators like a few unnatural dialogues are noticeable. Nevertheless, their success overshadows such minor flaws, foreshadowing the creative potential for future works from this team.

O2 is now playing in cinemas.

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