Monday, April 4, 2011

‘Urumi,' a view from the other side, says director

‘Urumi' represented a clash of cultures. It was not an accurate recollection of history, rather a representation of historical facts on a fictional platform, said Santosh Sivan, director of the film that was released in theatres on Thursday.

Addressing a meet-the-press organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalists Trust here on Friday, Mr. Sivan said the film depicted history from the point of view of the vanquished. “Usually, history is written from the perspective of the conqueror. This is the view from the other side,” he said. Lead actor Prithviraj, who produced ‘Urumi' along with Mr. Sivan and Shaji Natesan, said the perfect director-writer combination in Santosh Sivan and scriptwriter Sankar Ramakrishnan was a great advantage. “ It was Santosh Sivan's idea to make it a truly world-class Malayalam movie,” he said.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said he had used lore and legend to create the story based on Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama's arrival in Kozhikode in the 15 {+t} {+h} century and its impact on local people. The film will have Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English versions with a different screenplay and narrative for each. Asked about the choice of actors from non-Malayalam films, Mr. Sivan replied, “I like to cast against the grain”. He said Urumi was shot in Maharashtra because the historical background demanded a virgin landscape devoid of modernity. “I was familiar with the location because Raavan, an earlier work of mine, was shot here”.

The cast includes Genelia D'Souza as a warrior princess; Bollywood stars Tabu and Vidya Balan; Tamil actor Prabhu Deva and Nitya Menon and Jagathy Sreekumar.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said the story of the film centred around the son of a slain warrior who wanted to avenge the death of his father at the hands of Vasco da Gama. “A whole lot of historians supported me with material for the story. Sanjay Subrahmiam's book on the Portuguese empire in Asia was the main inspiration,” he said. The name Urumi was chosen for the film because it represented a weapon bearing the identity of Kerala. Asked how the film would appeal to the non-Malayali audience, Prithviraj said, “I would describe it as a Malayalam production speaking in different languages”. On his role, Prithviraj said he had the advantage of being with the project right from the conceptual stage. “But dealing with an alien plot was taxing for the actors from other-language-films”. He said handling the double-edged Urumi was a challenge. “Despite a three-day crash training, I injured myself at least thrice,” he said.

Genelia said Urumi provided a different experience for her. “I approached it from a different perspective too,” she said. Mr. Sivan said the role of the princess was quite challenging physically.


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