Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Prithviraj’s towering performance!

The film is not as sharp as an urumi, but not too blunt as a shield also.

There is nothing as fascinating as history and there is no romance stronger than a passion for history. So, when a project set in the 16th century is announced, one sits up and takes notice. There started the wait for the mysterious charm of past to unfold in ‘Urumi’.

No doubt, Santosh Sivan has taken great pains to make the film look as authentic as possible. But, he has diluted the theme of the movie so as to ensure that he gets sufficient returns for the money he and co producers Prithviraj and Shaji Natesan have invested in ‘Urumi’. There is an item song by Tabu, some illogical scenes involving Vidya Balan and several loose ends in the script by Shankar Ramakrishnan.

The movie has a storyline that takes one’s breath away. Vasco da Gama, one of the earliest European explorers to set foot in India, had been a cruel invader for some of the peoples North Malabar. The short sized aristocrat from Portugal was ruthless in his dealing with the natives and that was why sections of people in Kerala and Goa protested at the efforts to celebrate the 500th year of his arrival in 1998. Vasco kills a tribal chieftain during his first arrival. When he comes back to Malabar after 20 years, the son of the chief, Chirakkal Kelu Nayanar (Prithviraj) organizes an uprising against the foreign invader with the help of Arackal Beevi Ayisha (Genelia).

It is a revenge story, not a patriotic one. So, the viewers are not subjected to jingoistic rhetoric and chest thumping dialogues. Well, that is something! The cast is almost perfect, with Raju, Genelia and Prabhu Deva in stellar roles. Genelia has done in for an image makeover. Once the film ends, one would not remember the bubbly innocent roles she had done, like the one in ‘Santosh Subrahmanyam’. Prabhu Deva is excellent in light hearted scenes, while Prithviraj towers over the others with an epic grandeur.

The film has been shot brilliantly, though some of the scenes remind one of Santosh’s earlier works such as ‘Ashoka’ and ‘Raavan’. It has some beautifully choreographed songs, set to lilting tunes by Deepak Dev. The film is much better made than films like ‘Pazhassi Raja’.

Malayalam cinema had been famous for its quality films, made on small budgets. Now, it seems, Mollywood has learnt a few lessons from Tamil and is on to big budget multi-linguals. Once again, Malayalam technicians and actors are all set to become the envy of their peers in other languages with films such as ‘Urumi’ and ‘Pazhassi Raja’. Though it has its fault, it is an engrossing entertainer. Indeed, it is not as sharp as an ‘urumi’, but it is not as blunt as a shield either!

Verdict: Must watch!


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