Director: Era Saravanan
We have had many movies in the past like Pasamalar, Kizhakku Cheemayile, Thirupachi, etc, conveying the brother-sister sentiment. In recent times, even movies like Sivappu Manjal Pachai and Namma Veetu Pillai were more or less based on such a sentiment. Udanpirappe, Jyotika’s 50th film, is no different when it comes to the sentiment. But, the movie could have surely worked its screenplay and storyline better.
Era Saravanan introduces you into a typical village setup with Vengaivasal in the background. The movie revolves around Mathangi, who’s husband Vathiyar alias Sargunam does not talk to her brother Vairavan because of an incident that happened 15 years back. Caught between the two, the rest of the movie is about how Mathangi yearns for the day they unite and how they actually unite.
Slowly we’re introduced to the main characters of the movie, namely Vathiyar, Vairavan and Mathangi. But, even the introduction to each of them seems too forced because it is done without any continuity. For example, the village temple’s priest just finishes talking about the missing Goddess idol and immediately Jyotika is seen in the sleeve of Mathangi bringing the idol out of a pond. The entry seems very forced and out of order considering the topic of the missing idol is never brought up again.
For a longtime in the movie, we are only shown ways in which each character’s background is established strongly. However, we still do not have clarity about their exact role. The first half is filled with philosophies (Thathuvam) about various social issues like the caste system or infertility. At one point, we feel that most of these scenes are made to fit into the movie only to ensure that they are making a point. However, the scenes with these ‘social messages’ make no sense in the larger picture of the story.
Typically in a story with a sibling sentiment, especially a brother-sister one, an elaborate flashback of why they love each other so much is shown. Era Saravanan did us one good by not taking that route for the flashback. Still, there is no depth to establish the bond between Vairavan and Mathangi because their bond is more spelled by long dialogues and words, rather than actual actions.
It takes a very long time for the conflict to set-in. But, even after it is set in, the movie is just dragged for joy, keeping the audience at bay as to what the real conflict is. With a very commercial movie-like handling of action scenes and the too much philosophy from both Samuthirakani and Sasi Kumar, we wonder when the movie would actually gain pace.
The biggest problem of the movie is that none of the relationships or bonds are defined clearly. The title clearly states that the movie is about Mathangi and Vairavan’s relationship, yet we don’t see that bond on-screen. Similarly, Mathangi and Vathiyar’s husband-wife bond is nowhere to be seen in the movie. Thus, the sacrifices they make or the actions they take seem more fake than justified.
Kalaiyarasan plays the role of Adhiben. He tried his level best to put in all he’s got into his role. Unfortunately, yet again, due to the lack of depth and clarity of his character, his entire performance ended up being very vague. A debut actor played the role of Vivek, Vairavan’s son, and his face was entirely expressionless. Nivedhithaa Sathish and Sija Rose did quite a good job with their respective roles, but their screen time and dialogues were not much.
If the movie was a crashing plane, Jyotika’s expressions were the parachute. Jyotika was not given much dialogues or detail, but at every turn taken by her brother or her husband, she gives expressions that are worth thousands of words. With this movie celebrating her 50th, it is great to see her trying new roles with a really new wardrobe and costume style. Deepa Venkat’s voice was perfect as usual for her role and the dialogues. Unlike the recent Jyotika films, she took a back step in this one but still managed to be a prominent character.
The movie voices out against issues like the caste-system. Pakkadi played by Soori is the househelp of Vairavan. While Pakkadi boasts with pride that Vairavan keeps him as his confidant and not one of his own. But, we see that Pakkadi was never educated or raised to the level of others. Similarly, there are a lot of dialogues about women’s rights and their freedom to choose. But, nowhere are we told what Mathangi’s daughter Keerthana has studied or what her aspirations are. On the other hand however, Vivek’s educational history is the first thing we get to know about him.
The songs of the movie are composed by D Imman. The theme music for Vairavan everytime he fights injustice gives you quite the adrenaline rush. At the same time, songs like Anney Yaaraney attempt to make you sentimental and shed a few tears in the emotional scenes.
The costume design for each of the characters are also worth a separate mention. Apart from Jyotika’s newest look that stole the screens, Sasi Kumar’s look as the respected man of the village and Samuthirakani’s look as a respected teacher were well suited.
We must always expect social messages in movies that have Sasi Kumar or Samuthirakani. This is a movie with both of them together. While the movie’s goal on the whole is to spread a message, the way that message was spread seemed chaotic and clumsy. The entire film was more like a street play that is enacted to convey a point, rather than an actual movie with a storyline. Udanpirappe is a very predictable family-drama movie that could have done much better in terms of screenplay and storyline.