Santosh Shivan is one of the best cinematographers in the countryAs a director, he has sparkled in the past with movies as diverse as ‘Tahaan’ and ‘Navarasa’. As the ace cinematographer returns to direction once more, one expects some mind-blowing visuals in a power-packed movie. And that’s precisely what ‘Urumi’ has to offer.
Urumi is the story of Chirakkal Kelu Nayanar – a warrior in 15th century Kerala. The story, being told in flashback, has Krishna Raj (Prithviraj), a struggler based in Goa, who gets to know of his vast ancestral property in Kerala by a mining company which wants his land. All set to sell it off to the company, he comes back to Kerala where he gets to know the story of his ancestors from a tribal. Thus unveils the story of Kelu Nayanar, who wants to take revenge for his father’s death by killing Vasco Da Gama. Ably supported by childhood-buddy Vavvali (Prabhu Deva) and Arackal Ayesha (Genelia) – a warrior princess, he sets off to get Vasco’s blood.
This is not Santosh’s first period film – he has done ‘Asoka’ before. The experience has held him in good stead – Urumi defines perfection. The film has Santosh Shivan written all over it. The visuals are spectacular. Shot mostly in Malshej, Maharashtra, the locals are exquisite and look stunning in Shivan’s frame. Even the mist, most of which is natural, looks quite striking. All stops have been pulled to underscore even the last detail. Shankar Ramakrishnan’s script is quite straightforward, and helps the viewer focus into the nuances of the story perfectly. The connection between the flash-back and present is quite ironic and deserves applause.
Acting by Prithviraj is quite commendable. Prithvi excels as the angst-filled hero, living by his father’s ideals. His dialogue delivery and body-language is quite impressive. Genelia has shed her bubbly girl-next-door image to become the warrior princess – Ayesha. She does a good job, playing the menacing princess. Prabhu Deva effortlessly fits himself to the role of Prithvi’s sidekick, providing for the occasional laughter. Surprisingly, he even speaks decent Malayalam. Nithya Menon, who plays Bala, the ‘Chirackal’ princess, sparkles with her childish gait. Jagathy Sreekumar’s Machiavellian Chencheri Kurup is outstanding. He displays a Shakuni-like brilliance, drawing many accolades. The foreign cast, Robin Pratt and Alex O’ Neill – who play Vasco Da Gama and his son Estavio Da Gama respectively, are decent. Vidya Balan, however, is excess-baggage. Her item number is disappointing, with the actor exposing her not-so-perfect figure.
The highlight of the movie is its stunts. Internationally-acclaimed stunt-masters have been roped in to do martial arts for the movie. The movie justifies its title; the ‘urumi’ a.k.a. ‘Curling Blade’ depicts itself in every single stunt scene, so much to the fact that you become a fan of the potent weapon. The fact that the movie doesn’t employ CGI comes across as a high-point. Actors like Prithviraj and Genelia have in fact, acted in the stunt scenes themselves. The final clash between Prithviraj’s soldiers and Vasco Da Gama’s army is amazing. Most of the slow-mo stunts are breathtaking. They leave you glued to the seat, open-mouthed in adoration.
Not everything about this flick is rosy though. At 170 minutes, the film drags. The editing should have been a bit more taut; at least thirty minutes of the story could be easily cut out. Apart from ‘Aaro Nee Aaro’, music by Deepak Dev is disappointing. So are the music videos, most of which are quite unnecessary.
Overall, the 20-crore movie is watchable and worth the effort. Kudos to Prithviraj and Santosh Shivan for producing coming up with such an epic extravaganza.
My Rating: 6/10.