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Review by : Behindwoods Review Board

Starring: Arya, Prithviraj, Prabhu Deva, Genelia, Nithya Menon, Vidya Balan
Direction: Santosh Sivan
Music: Deepak Dev
Production: Prithviraj, Santosh Sivan, Shaji Natesan

Santosh Sivan’s cinematic oeuvre is an envious compilation of movies and ad films that are breathtakingly pleasing on the eye. Naturally, Sivan’s brilliance as a cinematographer comes to the fore even when he’s a director. Such is the case with Urumi – a historical fantasy written with wide-eyed imagination by Shankar Ramakrishnan and brought to screen by Sivan magnificently. With pleasing visuals of locations that are often rain-soaked - it seems a cinematographer can never get enough of rains and given the fact that rains bring out the best of nature’s colors, it is only natural after all – the director-writer team of Sivan and Ramakrishnan weave a fairy tale drama blending history and present meticulously.

When Prithviraj was offered a handsome rate for his ancestral property in Kerala, he decides to sell it. However, it’s not as easy as it seems and the issue opens up a can of worms for the rather carefree youth. Urumi is told in flashbacks and converges into a classic intersection where past meets the present. Shankar Ramakrishnan has done some hands-on research with his subject and what transpires on screen is a neatly thought out script infused with adequate performance by the actors. A lot of credit goes to Sivan’s casting of the lead roles of the film as they weave in and out of the film with practiced ease convincingly.

Prithviraj – who has also coproduced the film with Sivan and Shaji Natesan – plays the lead role of a 16th century warrior, Chirakkal Kelu Nayanar. Kelu is seeking revenge for his father’s death and is braying for Vasco Da Gama’s blood since the Portuguese sailor is responsible for the death of his beloved father. Prithvi’s acting skills needs no elucidation and so he proves that he can be equally impressive in the role of a waywardly young man of present day and as a warrior prince who has a huge responsibility of planning an uprising to oust the Portuguese from the Malabar Coast. While he shines as an angry-young-man whose responsibilities set him apart from the herd, he also does not forget to highlight the subtleties of emotions he goes through when he is attracted to the brave Ayesha – played by Genelia.

Genelia, as the valiant Princess of Arackal, who takes on the responsibility of safeguarding her family’s modesty and dignity plays her role to perfection. Her loathe for men - whom she considers womanizers waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of women - is rendered well and she scores in the fight scenes also.

Prabhu Deva as Vawwali, Prithviraj’s best friend, pulls off comedy like it is his second skin. His brief liaison with Nithya Menon, his tease at Prithviraj when he is seemingly falling for Genelia and his courageousness at arranging a coup – all these aspects make his character endearing. Rest of the actors including Jagathy Sreekumar, Arya, Alexx ONell, Robin Pratt and Amole Gupte are proofs of perfect casting.

Vidya Balan and Tabu are crackling in their few-minutes-long cameo appearances in songs. You almost long for Tabu’s presence for a little longer and Vidya pushes the envelope of raunchiness a little too farther. However, also as a nondescript ashram owner, she is brilliant nevertheless.

Another aspect of the movie worth mentioning is its painstakingly designed costumes that are rather clinical. Genelia slips in and out of designer shawls and beautifully created ensembles befitting a princess that she plays. However, you only expect the princess to be muted in style when she is struggling for her family’s dignity. The costumes, otherwise, are inspired, to say, and are appropriate for a period film of Urumi’s stature.

S. Sasikumaran’s dialogues are sharp and edgy for a period film that is after all a revenge drama in its heart. Deepak Dev’s songs are hummable and his background score is muted, suited for the setting of the film. Sreekar Prasad’s able handed editing ensures that the movie is not lagging as it winds along its course.

On the whole, it’s unlikely that you might have an opportunity to watch another film like Urumi. It’s unique, gets the historical facts right and is a mélange of revenge drama and contemporary themes of greed for land and suchlike. You will love it and as for your children, this might as well be a history lesson about the 16th century India and her wealth and the near-successful Portuguese invasion.

Verdict: History revisited! Must watch film!

Tags : Urumi, Arya, Prithviraj, Prabhu Deva, Genelia, Nithya Menon, Vidya Balan, Santosh Sivan, Deepak De
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