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Old 03-04-2013, 05:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
BrandoLal
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UTHARAM: ASK THE QUESTION FIRST


“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means “God with us”. – Matthew 1:23

So begins the question of the virgin. To ask a question, there are some always ready, looking everywhere without hesitation without second-guesses. And guess what. You may be better off not knowing the answer sometimes. At least that is what the scenarist and director of movie Utharam says in one of its concluding moments. Amen to that.

The young poetess of her generation, Seleena takes a shot to her chest with seemingly no reason. Everyone is confounded at the turn of events, preeminent among them her husband Matthew. ‘She was happy’, he insists earnestly and his journalist friend Balu has no two doubts about it. So when did something rotten indeed creep into Denmark, he asks and asks for the rest of the movie.

I haven’t read Lady Daphne du Maurier’s short story No Motive to see how much has the scenarist M.T.Vasudeven Nair incorporated the movie. But perhaps I don’t need to. It bears every bit trademark of the dramatist to a fault. The characters speak and behave as if they are aware of their predicament and wade through the waters of plot as if they know the mind of the writer who pens the other characters. And they oblige too which is the beauty of the film. No loose ends. Consider the scenes where Balu spends in the company of Matthew in the beginning or the barrage of scatter shot dialogues flying between Balu and the superintendent of the child services and you will know what I mean. But the same couldn’t be said about the pace of the movie which I might say is impressive of a movie veering more towards art house sensibilities. The director Pavithran deserves a pat on his shoulder for this and making the proceedings focused on what the writer intended. As for his execution skills, I have to yet see a director talented enough like Bharathan who could transcend the verbal constructions of an M.T. screenplay into something more. No blame on Pavithran there.

As for performances, the leading actor Mammootty gives flesh to a character that is pretty much one-dimensional. It is a testament to his skills that we don’t pause for one moment to ask whether Balu as a character has rather something personal in his investigation other than helping a friend to sink such depths with his questions. The zest is there along with the wiles. Parvathy is adequate with her portrayal of Shyamala. Sukumaran shines with his razor sharp characterization of the character Matthew. Shankarady, Innocent, Sukumari and Jagannathan were apt. But Suparna was a letdown, who was borderline flat with her essaying of the title role, Seleena. A complex character of such shades should have done by someone else who radiates intelligence than beauty. Both the chatty youth and mature years of Seleena demanded a range in acting which is sorely missing here.

As for the technical departments, DOP Ramachandrababu didn’t disappoint to say the least. Nothing exceptional but then again nothing stale. Add to that, locations of Mysore, Bylakuppe and Kallooppara have delivered their fair share. Editor Ravi has sliced the film as required and BGMs provided by Johnson were complimentary. The exquisite poems of O.N.V beautifully composed by Vidhyadharan serve well.

As a question demands an answer and an answer a question, much do linger about Seleena after the film runs its course. Like did she really forget what happened to her? If so, did she really believe she was a girl who was orphaned at five? If not, why did she not tell that to Matthew? Had she ever suspected anything amiss with how her life turned? All these answers I think are buried someplace in this story. All it takes would be perhaps to come up with our own conclusions or get acquainted with the celebrated work of that celebrated author who wrote such masterpieces as Rebecca, The Birds, Don’t Look Now and Jamaica Inn. Perhaps it won’t be a near-miss after all.



Regards,
Brandolal

Last edited by wolwo; 03-04-2013 at 06:09 PM.
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