The exploitation of those mercenaries and the fights of those heroes who valiantly fought for their homeland are never recorded and just remain as folklores which are passed on as hearsay through generations. The times have changed and the mercenaries and their methods have been done away with the changes of the times, yet the exploitation continues over the indigenous population. This is the vital essence of the Santosh Sivan directed “URUMI.”
“URUMI” takes off at a point in the late 15th century when the celebrated businessman Vasco-Da-Gama stumbles on a sea route to India. He lands in Kerala and is looked after royally as a state guest. But the local King spurns the advances and bribes of Vasco-Da-Gama who wants to secure the precious spices of Kerala. Taking offence at the act, Gama returns to Portugal and brings back an army to secure the spices and do business. He takes control over Kerala’s ports and unleashes a violent streak of his on the local population with his cohorts. The local chieftain Kulottan (Arya) loses himself in the process of saving his tribesmen and people. The atrocities of Gama and his people are noticed by Kelu Nayanar, the son of Kulottan and he resolves in his mind that he has to avenge for the killing of his father and also free his motherland from the clutches of evil Vasco-Da-Gama.
Kelu Nayanar (Prithviraj) becomes a young man who is trained in the martial arts. He develops his own weapon URUMI with the gold of the slain tribesmen. Keeping good company in his pursuit of revenge is Vavvali (Prabhu Deva) who tries to prevent the adrenaline rush of Kelu and drives him to pursue a practical approach. Will the duo driven by the mad passion to give a death blow to the Portugese invader in their motherland of Chirakkal. Arakkal Ayesha (Genelia) and Princess of Chirakkal (Nithya) are some of the victims of the politics of the times and play their part in securing victory for their motherland.
Coming to the performances of the lead cast, all of them have done a splendid job. Prithviraj brings believability into the courageous character of Kelu and looks macho to the core. His presence adds more weight to the character. Prithvi displays a chameleon like ability when he appears as a demure Krishna Das in the current generation. Prabhu Deva leaves a stamp with peculiar mannerisms. For Genelia the role of Ayesha is a divine gift and is a revelation of sorts. She performed with gutso as a princess who is at ease with weapons as she is with jasmines. Nithya does not have much role to do other than shower attention over Prabhu Deva most of the time. One cannot understand the importance accorded to Vidya balan and Tabu in the promotion of the film as they practically have nothing to do in the movie. Tabu is there for few frames in a song and Vidya balan is just there for 4 minutes. The scene stealer of the film is Jagathy who plays the gay scheming minister of the King of Chirakkal.
The director of URUMI, Santosh Sivan, has to be applauded for choosing a subject which throws light on the events of the past though with not much of accuracy as most of it is based on hearsay. In the process of telling the entire story, Santosh Sivan has made the storytelling a bit confusing as a common cinema-goer might not follow most of the story. The cinematography is mind-blowing and matches to the international standards but the screen-play of Santosh Sivan could have been more engaging.
The music and art departments have done a splendid job of creating the 15th century in front of our eyes and not for once do we feel that we are watching contemporary cinema. An appreciable effort on the part of the telugu producers for bringing this engaging cinema into telugu. If this URUMI does not succeed at the box-office then it is to be attributed on the screen-play aspect rather than any technical value associated with it.
URUMI is a one-time watch for all movie-lovers alike, though common cinegoers might not connect with it.