Rating: N.A. This movie cannot be rated like as a regular commercial cinema. For this reason, I am not giving a rating for this Santosh Sivan Classic.
Urumi is Santosh Sivan’s period drama set in the days of the first Portuguese foray into India. The movie has some heavyweights in the cast and with one of India’s most talented cinematographers at the helm, Urumi has great expectations riding on it. Let us see how the movie fares.
What it is about: The movie revolves around the story of Chirakkal Kelu Nayar (Prithviraj), who is a fearsome warrior from Kerala. Kelu vows to free his motherland from the influence and interference of the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama. He has his loyal comapnion Vavvali (Prabhu Deva) to assist him in his endeavours. Kelu’s weapon of choice is a golden Urumi, which he creates out of the gold ornaments of his people killed by the Portuguese. In his journey to complete his objective, he meets and falls in love with a warrior princess Ayesha ( Genelia).
Kelu gets entangled in the power politics of a feminine Chenichery Kurup (Jagathy Sreekumar), who has the Chirakkal Thampuran (Amol Gupte) heavily influenced. Chenichery is a mole and is loyal to Vasco da Gama. He later exerts his charms over Thampuran’s heir Bhanu Vikraman (Ankur Sharma). Nitya plays the role of Thampuran’s daughter and there is a romantic angle between her and Vavvali.
The rest of the story is about how Kelu and his team go about their quest to eliminate Vasco da Gama.
What is Good: The movie is grandness personified.Though history goes for a toss and a lot of cinematic liberties are taken, the movie is very richly and authentically mounted on screen. Prithviraj is brilliant in the role of the warrior Kelu and he just exudes masculinity. He turns in a controlled and skilled performance.
The pick of the lot is Genelia, who essays the role of the warrior princess Ayesha to perfection. She is good in her combat scenes and looks sensuous in period malayalee attire.
Vidya Balan, Tabu and Arya make cameo appearances and do their bit well. Prabhu Deva ably supports Prithviraj and he tries to bring about some element of humour to the otherwise serious story.
All the female actresses look seriously sensual in their wet malayalee attire. Kalaripayattu sequences are choreographed brilliantly and authentically.
The duet between Genelia and Prithvi is one of the finest examples of aesthetic romance we have seen in a long long time.
The way the director fuses this historical flashback into present day political conditions is admirable and the script writer needs to be commended for coming up with such a water tight script.
What is Bad: In the interest of ‘authenticity’ and intensity, screenplay goes about quite slowly and this will be quite hard to digest for regular movie goers. As with all art-house movies, some scenes are too authentic and bizarre to digest.
Jagathy Sreekumar’s portrayal of Chenichery Kurup might be brilliant from an actor’s perspective, but it does evoke a sense of disgust in a lot of people.
There are next to zero commercial elements in this movie and this will seriously hinder its run at the box office. Dubbing work is not of a very high order and we can easily make out the missing sync between the actor’s spoken dialogue and the Telugu version. Telugu dialogues are below par.
Technical Departments: This movie shows why Santosh Sivan is one of India’s finest cinematographers. Each and every frame is brilliantly composed and richly shot. Kerala is shown in a misty and wet light and the locales look stunning. This movie needs to be shown to all aspiring cinematographers to highlight the magic that a camera can create in the right hands.
Music by Deepak Dev is good and provides a rich backdrop for the movie. Editing is of a very high standard.
Analysis: Urumi is not a commercial cinema and it will not appeal to regular fun loving movie goers. Its a serious art-house film that’s technically brilliant and the cinematography will leave you speechless. There is tremendous appeal in the movie for serious cinema lovers and for technical connoisseurs so don’t miss the chance to catch this on screen if you are one of those.
Rating: N.A. This movie cannot be rated in the same manner as a regular commercial cinema and the normal parameters of rating a movie do not apply here. For this reason, I am not giving a rating for this Santosh Sivan Classic.