Wednesday, April 20, 2011

URUMI - A Super Visual Delight

Musings of a cineaste after the first day, first show of ‘Urumi'

Prithviraj has a vision, which he professes at every opportunity, that he will one day be the ambassador of Malayalam cinema and through him Malayalam cinema will get its due. ‘Urumi' could well be his first effort in that direction to fulfil his dream. Mani Ratnam's ‘Raavanan' paved the road for him to do it and here he is, with August Cinema's ‘Urumi'.

August Cinema's CEO is Mallika Sukumaran, say the credits. Homage is paid to Sukumaran before the movie begins as also to another producer's father, Nadesan. Sukumaran would certainly have been proud of his younger son. Santhosh Sivan, who dons a producer's, cinematographer's and director's robes, wears one for far too long.

Guess which robe? The cinematographer's of course. If you compare ‘Ananthabhadram', ‘Raavanan' and ‘Urumi', you can see the same pair of eyes looking through the camera.

As to who won the toss, the director or cameraman in ‘Urumi', again, the cameraman triumphs! For ‘Urumi' is eye candy…eye candy..eye candy supreme. Watching the movie in a multiplex gets you all the comments, honest and unafraid ones. The visuals floor you; all comments are united on that score.

There is the sea from several offbeat angles, the cave also lighted by torches with the light and shade playing, mountains and village locales, tribal men and women, animals and birds, namely the Manila duck, a parrot, horses, cows and buffaloes.

The colours are so much in harmony, earthy and natural green, and the costumes, few and classy (close ups are few). In fact, Prithviraj's costumes, very few, are natural and suit him.

There are just a handful of scenes in which Prithviraj Sukumaran does not appear. Muscles ripple and fight scenes abound, a la Crouching Tiger style. Prabhu Deva's is a comic character, the second longest after Prithviraj's. No, there are no dance scenes. Genelia D'Souza, who has the longest female role, tries her hand at kalaripayattu and makes bold attempts to look extremely serious about her persona. But in one of the roles she plays, (yes, several actors play double roles, one group in the past and the same group in the present) she is very much at home, that of a mentally deranged girl. Vidya Balan's much hyped item number is tastefully captured, except for one or two crude shots.

And Tabu? Your heart bleeds for the actor, who can hardly be recognised in that guest appearance. Nithya Menon is charming, sexy and cute, in turns. Jagathy, Arya and a host of small screen actors, who come in and go off in a few minutes at the beginning, do well. Deepak Dev's music is different. Only snatches of songs are picturised in some scenes, which go down well with the audience,

Sexual innuendos abound in Shankar Ramakrishnan's dialogues. More overt than covert. All in chaste language.

How many issues can one film hold? ‘Urumi' has environment, history (?), land mafia, love et al. If you don't take the history part too seriously, you will enjoy the movie, thoroughly, like a lovely fairy tale. But does anything stay in your heart, post ‘Urumi'? Prithviraj's flowing costumes did, in mine.


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