Director: Buchi Babu Sana
*Minor Spoilers Forward
When an actor performs a fisherman in a Telugu film, there’s virtually at all times an ode to the ocean. It’s the identical with farming. In a drama about agriculture, you possibly can absolutely anticipate a music that romanticises the connection between nela (soil) and vaana (rain). There’s a elaborate metaphor, in Uppena, as Aasi (Panja Vaisshnav Tej), the hero, sees the ocean within the eyes of Bebamma (Krithi Shetty), the lady he loves.
He sings, “Nee kannu neeli samudram, naa manasemo andhutlo padava prayaanam.” The road roughly interprets to — my soul goes on a ship journey within the blue-sea of your eyes. It’s an exquisite expression, and in that prompt you marvel how poetry could make a language so irresistible. However when the music ends, that lyrical dream additionally ends, and also you’re again to watching Aasi comply with Bebamma till she takes discover of him. These clichéd scenes are a dime a dozen, they usually make no impression since we’ve witnessed this trope for the reason that 1980s.
Bebamma seems cute to Aasi, and his world rotates in slow-motion when he’s stalking her. However he doesn’t have sufficient braveness to strategy her and discuss his emotions, as he’s the son of a fisherman and she or he’s the daughter of Raayanam (Vijay Sethupathi), a man who owns half the city. Subsequently, this isn’t merely a narrative a couple of wealthy lady falling in love with a poor boy; it’s additionally concerning the sort of function that caste performs in society and the place that girls occupy within the household tree — they’re thought-about the bearers of honour. Early on within the movie, it’s revealed that Raayanam turns a blind eye to Bebamma when she complains about her cousin’s conduct.
He doesn’t admonish his nephew as a result of the latter belongs to the identical caste. Sure, Raayanam is a first-class casteist prick. And he’s the form of man who takes pleasure in casually pacing round his workplace admiring his personal photos and the laurels he has dropped at his nice household. These segments convey out director Buchi Babu Sana’s imaginative and prescient completely.
The whole first hour runs fairly shortly because it’s filled with songs and courtship scenes. However Uppena will get higher solely after it swings in the direction of the darker aspect of the story. In films reminiscent of this, we, undoubtedly, root for the underdog. We cheer when the hero beats up the goons, or when the heroine provides it again to the misogynists. Although Aasi is launched as a person who can definitely fend off about 4 folks at a time, he’s nonetheless a mortal.
He can not tolerate ache, for he’s not Baahubali. When Aasi will get damage, he can’t stand up. This is among the issues that the filmmaker should have mulled over whereas penning the screenplay as a result of the film depends closely on this side.
Whereas Uppena builds the narrative round this specific ant versus elephant story, the place Raayanam is the elephant and Aasi is the ant, it’s simple to guess what occurs once they come head to head. Additionally, Babu Sana tries to spotlight the struggles that plague the poor. What’s going to the fishing group do if it’s despatched distant from the ocean? How can they journey 4 kilometers day-after-day to achieve their boats within the morning? And why have they got to maneuver to a different neighborhood within the first place — to assist the wealthy get richer? That is exactly what Vetri Maaran’s Tamil film Vada Chennai was about. However this burning challenge will get buried below the load of Aasi and Bebamma’s fears and it’s inserted as an additional nugget to remind us of Raayanam’s wickedness.
We will perceive that Raayanam is a poisoned egg, however we are able to’t take him severely, as there’s an enormous hole between his face and his voice. They blatantly come throughout as two completely different components. Vijay Sethupathi is a superb performer in Tamil movies. Nevertheless, right here, with out his authentic voice, he appears vacant. Only for a second, think about Prakash Raj along with his voice on this function, and also you most likely can’t sleep nicely tonight.
Sethupathi might have accepted the function within the hope of addressing social issues. He has been vocal about a few of them on social media for some time now. Since casteism ranks increased on the dimensions of inhumanity in our nation, he might have given his nod to lend his assist. If this had been a Tamil movie, it’d have been his residence floor and he’d have hit the ball out of the park.
The performances apart, there’s a significant flaw within the politics of Uppena. It forgives the perpetrator of the crime whereas it sympathises with the survivor — whereas Raayanam is solely given a lesson on what love really entails, he’s not punished for the atrocities he commits. Properly, if punishment feels like fulfilling a want, then there must be some sort of a response, a minimum of. Do you keep in mind how Deepu (Chandini Chowdary) cuts all ties together with her brother Rama Raju (Sunil) in Colour Photo for messing up her relationship?
Within the Tamil brief movie Love Panna Uttranum, which is a part of the Netflix anthology Paava Kadhaigal, Vignesh Shivan additionally lets a casteist legal stroll away freely. Ought to Dalits at all times should beg to be accepted? Ugh!