Urumi is a visual splendor; a celluloid celebration of an era buried in collective memory; it is a story that has a slice of history and the spice of mythology; the film has the mellifluous flow of a ballad and the melodious meter of a charming fairy tale;
Urumi is like the supine past unwinding like a Coiled Sword to present us with the valour of forgotten warriors; the mindless death and devastation of invaders, the pathos of the bereaved, the royal intrigues, the rising of a leader and the repercussions of revenge.
Urumi means a Coiled Sword, a flexible sword curled around the waist or bundled into the belt; it has to be straightened out by turning it around the wielder’s body mostly in a vertical plane. Urumi is the weapon of the practitioners of the martial art of Kalaripayattu. Urumi also means an inner rage.
The story opens in the present day. Krishna Das (Prithviraj) and his friend Tarzan (Prabhu Deva) are happy-go-lucky guys until a multinational corporation offers a fortune to by the ancestral land of Krishna Das. The MNC wants the land for mining.
Krishna Das has royal lineage and when he goes to his native place in Kerala, he is confronted by Bhoomi (Vidya Balan) a NGO activist and a teacher Urmila (Genelia) who had been safeguarding the ancestral property and taking care of the tribals living there. Bhoomi tries to dissuade Krishna Das from selling the land to the mining corporation. Then, Krishna meets Tangachan (Arya) who narrates the ancestral history of Krishna Das.
The flashback covers the period of around 1500 AD. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (Robin Pratt) wants to establish a colony for trade in spices and gold. Vasco encounters a ship laden with pilgrims and detains it. The king of Kolathunad, Chirakkal Kothuwal (Arya), sents a Brahmin negotiator and his own son, Kelu, to the Portuguese ship to negotiate the release of the pilgrim ship. Gama rejects all negotiations and Kothuval attacks the ship and dies. The pilgrims are massacred. His son Kelu escapes. Kelu is taken care of Vavvali (Prabhu Deva). From the gold ornaments of the dead pilgrims, Kelu creates an Urumi with which he wants to kill Vasco da Gama and avenge the death of his father.
Kelu and Vavvali grow up into warriors and rescue Bala (Nithya Menon), the princess of Kolathunad. In return the Chirakkal Thampu (Amole Gupte) appoints Kelu as the commander-in-chief.
While on a mission to save a patriot from Portuguese gallows, he meets a Muslim warrior princess Ayesha (Genelia). He arrests the son of Vasco, Estêvão da Gama (Alexx ONell) and jails him in Chirakkal.
Kelu now plans his final offence on the citadel of the Portuguese to kill Vaco Da Gama. The rest of the story deals with his war on Gama.
Prithviraj is all grace and carries role with a touch of royal dignity and the valour of a warrior. He carries the entire film on his able shoulders.Prabhu Deva is very convincing. Robin Pratt goes under the skin of his role as Vasco. Alexx ONell is convincing. Nitya Menen is coy and emotes well. The surprise package is Genelia. She essays her role with aplomb. She unleashes her full range of emotions in a fitting role. Jagathy Sreekumar is very good as the wily minister. Amole Gupte is his confident self. VIdya Balan, Arya and Tabu excel in their cameos. All others fit in perfectly into their roles.
Santosh Sivan has created celluloid poetry with his craftsmanship. There is a seamless merging of characters over different time periods. The characters are etched with care and great detail. Shankar Ramakrishnan has penned a great story.. The The dialogues and lyrics obviously impacted with translational losses of the essence of the original. The music of Deepak Dev is melodious and in tune with the moods of narration. Eka Lakhani’s costume designs are praiseworthy. The Art director succeeds in getting the period ambience.
The Cinematography captures every nuance of the performers, the sensuous quiver of lips, the sententious flicker of an eye-lid, the spasmodic twitch of a facial muscle, the solemn furrow of the brow and of course the picturesque panorama of the pulchritudinous prakriti. Sreekar Prasad’s editing is flawless. Arial Arasu’s action sequences are like Kalaripayattu ballets. The sound design enhances the appeal of visual content. The production values are high.
Urimi is an endearing cinematic experience. .Urumi has a tag line …The boy who wanted to kill Vasco Da Gama –that gives you the storyline.
However, I must caution you on one aspect.
Like most top class cinematographers turned directors, Santosh Sivan too lingers a bit longer on the exquisitely framed scenes which inadvertently impedes the velocity of the flow of narration.
Urumi is not a blast of sordid rush of a meandering river in spate; it is more like the regal serenity of stately Ganges.
Sivan has symmetry in the structure of the film, which is not like the explosive bang of heritage scotch-on-rocks, but has the implosive twang only vintage wine can switch on.
Go and share the celluloid poetry of Santosh Sivan.
The Cast and Crew
Prithviraj,Genelia Dsouza,Prabhu Deva,Chandan Roy Sanyal,Vidya Balan, Arya, Tabu,Nithya Menon, Robin Pratt, Alexx ONell, Amole Gupte and others
Director: Santhosh Sivan
Producer: Prithviraj, Santhosh Sivan
Banner: August Cinema (Telugu : SVR Media Pvt Ltd)
Music: Deepak Dev
Cinematography: Santhosh Sivan
Editing: Sreekar Prasad
Story and screenplay: Shankar Ramakrishnan
Dialogue: Shashank Vennelakanti
3.75 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar