Friday, April 1, 2011

Movie Review- Urumi (Malayalam)

Ok this review will only be readable and understandable for an Indian nevertheless a Mallu. After the college, these are the days I get time to sit home jobless. So when my buddy, VP on his vacation from Air force, called me up for a movie I was all game for it. ‘Urumi’ stands for a long sword which is beaten into sheet like thinness. It is very malleable and squirms like a snake and extremely difficult to use. Hence it’s a popular weapon in Kerala.

When the news came out that Santosh Sivan is doing a movie that too with the young superstar Prithvi Raj the expectation and hype naturally soared sky high. The next element to catch people’s attention was the unusual story which portrayed Vasco Da Gama as a blood thirsty traveler. Now to beat all that he lined up one of the most beautiful female cast in India and released the cool stills. For a film to run India, the luck factor is very elementary. Santosh had it all when two other much hyped movies released a week before this fell flat at the box office. I was very apprehensive on trying my luck in the theatre queues on the opening days. Things can turn very nasty when fans association may create a ruckus on purpose and invite police action. A lathi charge on the opening day is a very positive sign for cash registers. But surprisingly the crowds weren’t astronomically large and were very tame too. So we didn’t have much problem in getting the tickets.

Coming back to the review- with all the hype there is a good chance for a well made film to be different from the mass expectation. A hyped film stands in a very dangerous zone. But ‘Urumi’ has done very well in terms of mass expectation and that was obvious from the crowd feedback.

Coming to the visuals, cinematography, sets- Santosh Sivan is the top notch in the country in terms o cinematography. All his films have proclaimed the strength of his forte irrespective of language and budget. It’s simply an awesome experience to sit in a theatre and enjoy his visual and colour treats. The sets and costumes are very impeccable too. May be that’s the difference between Sivan and the likes of Priyadarshan and SLB. They have a tendency to go so loud that after the initial awe the viewer might question the logic of lavishness. The mist, waterfalls, rivers were a treat for the eyes. There were also instances where the technical prowess was combined with artistic brilliance. I refuse to describe them in detail as my limited vocabulary might not justify the feel.

Coming to the story- It’s a period film and we have not even heard a rumor about such an instance. Vasco has always been portrayed as a brave traveler who opened up the windows of India to the world. But according to ’Urumi’ Vasco is a maniac, greedy and success oriented traveler who leaves no stone unturned for the quest of glory and power. He leaves behind a trail of blood and crime for which there are people looking for vengeance. Our hero is one of them. But the movie is not a straight jump into the history. There is a intermingling of foreign mining company bent on land grabbing and eveiction of poor tribals. The mix of power, politics and greed of the day is intertwined with the story of the Portuguese, It is a novel approach and worked very well. The director offers a food for thought on the concept of development and how it has been destroying and degrading the human race. It’s a good sign that the intelligentsia are expressing their view thorough the medium of cinema

The place where the cinema falters is the screenplay. There is no build up or any serious sub plots. The film rolls on with the luxury of a poem. But the three hours can begin to stretch your patience and we may end up questioning the length of the movie. The songs have also added to the boredom. The songs aren’t good enough and they appear on all unlikely instances.

Coming to the cast- the male section of actors are impeccable and it would be tough to single out an exceptional performance as everyone has bettered his role. But the two worth mentioning are Prabhu Deva and Jagathy. But you are sure to get disappointed with the star studded female actors. None of them has any significant role except for Genelia. She has very well messed up her part. I cannot understand the reason Vidya Balan should have been there in the film. It’s a totally insignificant role with an item dance. But people were under the impression that she had a plum role. The only plum role available was for her cleavages.

I feel very good in getting to see a good movie early on. It’s surely a proud moment for Malayalam movie industry for making one movie at the international standards

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Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.