Friday, June 1, 2012

CINEMA: Treat for adventure lovers

THOSE who love historical dramas will love Urumi. The movie has been dubbed in Tamil from a Malayalam film of the same name. The original saw box-office records in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh last year. An English version, which runs only 1½ hours, is also to be distributed worldwide.

The cinematographer-director is no stranger to Indian movies. Santosh Sivan made a name for himself as cinematographer with movies like Roja, Iruvar, Raavanan, Dil Se (Uyireh) and Asoka, winning national awards four times. He is now cameraman for top star Vijay’s Thuppaki.

It needs guts to make a historical movie in India at a high cost of 23 crore rupees (RM1.3 million) but Urumi has proven that the audience appreciates a well-made movie. The only thing going against it is the tag that it is dubbed.

The fictional story is based on the attempted assassination of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in the 16th Century. Kellu (Prithviraj) rises up against him with the help of his friend Vavali (Prabhu Deva) and a warrior princess Arakkal Aishah (Genelia D’Souza). Kellu wants to avenge the killing of his father and innocent pilgrims by da Gama, which he witnessed as a small boy.

Urumi refers to the golden rolled blade the hero uses to deadly effect on his enemies.

The movie is told in a long flashback — from the present day. It can be confusing when the same actors in present times take on the 16th Century roles. The movie is apparently trying to say that people are reborn, to meet again in different circumstances, but still facing the same conflicts.

Santosh Sivan mesmerises with his camera when capturing the battle scenes and romantic moments. The Tamil version is slightly shorter than the original but you wish he had further snipped some of the songs and scenes.

Music is by Deepak Dev, a former keyboard player for music maestro A.R. Rahman.

The main characters impress with their dedication to their roles. Especially worthy of mention is Genelia, who shows such fighting spirit through her expressive eyes. The comic routine by Prabhu Deva comes so easily to this talented choreographer-actor-director.

Nithya Menon plays a flirtatious princess. Watch out for Jagathy Sreekumar’s performance as the scheming, effeminate minister of the regional king. He is veteran of 1,000 Malayalam movies.

Arya and Tabu make short appearances while Vidya Balan looks stunning as an oracle in an unnecessarily lenghty sequence.

Santosh Sivan could have made it easier for moviegoers if he had used simple Tamil for the voiceover to narrate the story. The lack of subtitles is a sore point. But overall, the movie is a treat for adventure fans who love fights and a little romance. The fact that the actors are all familiar to Tamil movie fans helps a lot.


URUMI (Tamil)
Directed by Santosh Sivan
Starring Prithviraj, Prabhu Deva, Jagathy Sreekumar, Genelia D’Souza, Nithya Menon, Arya, Vidya Balan, Amol Gupte, Ankur Sharma, Robin Pratt, Alexx O Nell
Duration: 140 minutes
Rating: pg13


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