Udanpirappe: A Potentially Powerful Saga Of Family Ties
Udanpirappe(Tamil, Amazon Prime Video)
Starring Jyothika, M. Sasikumar, Samuthirakani, Soori, Kalaiyarasan, Nivedhithaa Sathish and Sija Rose
Directed by R Saravanan
This is a potentially explosive saga of rural family bonding imagined on a panoramic scale with drama, spectacle and bloodshed , a la Thevar Magan.Alas, wishes in this case are not horses. They are not even mules.What could have been a nerve wracking drama is reduced drastically in scope by some clumsy scripting and amateurish direction.
Being her home production I expected Jyothika to carry the narrative burden on her able shoulders. Alas she is scarcely able to make her presence felt in a screenplay that drags down her histrionics to a whimper rather than soar to the expectant roar. Strangely she goes missing midway for a good 30 minutes as her screen brother M Sasikumar takes over what seems like a losing battle of sibling bonding.
For the record, the film is a story of siblings Maathangi(Jyothika) and Vairavan(M Sasikumar) who separated at birth….no , sorry , wrong formula. This separation happens in their adulthood with Maathangi trying her utmost to bring her ceaselessly sulking sibling and glowering husband(Samuthirakani, the only actor who tries to make palatable sense of the ‘feud’ on the cinematic table) together through matrimony…no, not her brother and husband’s matrimony That would be way too revolutionary for a script that wallows in the status quo.
Maathangi’s plan is to marry her daughter to her brother’s son. Cousin marriage , though fairly common in some areas of the South, is taboo in the North. Hence the film’s convulsive energy loses its massy propulsion on the script level.
Unforgivably the film features lowbrow production values.And the supporting cast is played by actors gravely lacking in any screen presence.They thought Jyotika was enough. Little did they know. Even for diehard fans of Jyothika this rumbustious rural rabble-rouser may prove a slog.