The structural elements of ‘Uyare’ are bound to be familiar and the genre expectations are all in place, in that it has all the essential prerequisites of a survivor story. And yet, it’s a story that needs to be told, time and again, in a world that has turned a bit too dark with relationships that have gone all adrift.
Lucky to be born to a dad (Siddique) who helps her paint the hues on her rainbow, Pallavi Raveendran (Parvathy Thiruvoth) watches in awe and amazement, as her dream of becoming an airplane pilot finally turns a reality. Patting the soft feathers on the fresh wings that have sprouted on her shoulders, she gets all set to soar high and above the ground, and looks forward to a beautiful life ahead with her long time beau Govind (Asif Ali).
Carrying a heavy bundle of insecurities on his back, Govind is a confused soul who has dedicated his life to determining the dictates in Pallavi’s life. Weeping his eyes out as she leaves for her training, he hangs around back home, edgily waiting for her return, and pestering her day in and out with his frantic calls, most of which reach her at the most inappropriate of times.
While on the one hand, Manu Ashokan’s ‘Uyare’ might appear to be an account of a woman’s fierce struggle and resistance to a terrible tragedy that is all set to overwhelm her life, it is also a suggestive take on a very personal struggle, given the way in which her entire adult life has been encroached by an emotionally disruptive relationship. Choked beyond her senses, she splashes about frantically in the waters around her that threaten to drown her, all the while desperately trying to maintain a balancing act of keeping her personal aspirations and love life intact.
The feminist perspective in ‘Uyare’ is one that will be discussed in detail, but for me, Pallavi is an envoy , not of any one particular gender, but of hundreds of thousands of individuals out there who have been tossed out into a tempest for no fault of theirs, and left alone to tussle with what the storm leaves in its wake. She’s a beacon of hope, for all of us alike, in that she staggers up against the odds and lays down a narrative before us that is loaded with tenacity and hope.
The structural elements of ‘Uyare’ are bound to be familiar and the genre expectations are all in place, in that it has all the prerequisites of a survivor story. And yet, it’s a story that needs to be told, time and again, in a world that has turned a bit too dark with relationships that have gone all adrift. The motif is crystal clear, and this is a tale of resurrection – and the refusal to succumb – of a woman, who is crushed head down into the dirt and left for dead.
There is of course the quite probable, rational query as to how many acid attack survivors have had a buoyant conclusion to their stories as Pallavi’s, the trauma and torment that they have been through stuffed deep into a trash can from which it shows almost no signs of spilling over again. There is also the reservation that springs up in the mind, about a severe dearth of specifically anointed saviours as the one that Pallavi comes across – Vishal (Tovino Thomas), in this case – without whom she would probably have joined the rest of those not-so-fortunate souls who run the coffee shop in Delhi – staunch survivors in their own right, but sans the glitz that make their survival tales sparkly.
The obviousness, or rather the certainty that pervades a film as this, is one that should be taken with a pinch of salt, because this is one of those films that you would like to unfurl in exactly the expected manner that you have charted out in your mind, and no way else. This is predictability with a cause, where any other move ruins the motive, and you would very gladly ignore it in the larger scheme of things, as you would let go the patchiness that on a couple of occasions, creeps into the writing.
This hopefulness that each one of us holds within is also the reason why we let Vishal play the redeemer role despite the broad sketches that render him venturing slightly over the top, why we let the senior passenger aboard the flight get up to offer Pallavi a hug despite the slight dramatics that could easily ruin the scene or why we let Pallavi herself steer an abandoned airplane despite the oddities against her, that include a far from perfect eyesight. This is all because, perhaps more than the film itself, we want her to fly, and for that matter, fly real high.
This review runs the immense risk of turning out to be a verbal tribute – an absolutely unabashed one at that – to the stupendous performer actor that Parvathy is, and just when you thought she couldn’t get any better, here she is with another whopper of an act that clicks open the locks of your jaws in no time. ‘Uyare’ is a showcase for the tremendous potentials of this actor and it emerges the film that it is, courtesy this fantabulous performer who brings about the believability that the role demands, easily covering up even the few stodgier scenes with an ease and facility that has to be truly applauded.
There is also Asif Ali, who gives a pithy performance and loads up those eyes of his with oodles of angst, hesitance, desperation and fright – all of which make up the vulnerable being that Govind is. Tovino has a comparatively easy role at hand, and as Vishal he is picture perfect – the debonair, suave and easygoing business tycoon could never get any better than this.
Commendable performances from Siddique, who plays Pallavi’s dad and Anarkali Marikar who essays the role of Sarita D’Costa, Pallavi’s pal who lends her a hand through thick and thin, are to be specifically mentioned. ‘Uyare’ is competently captured on camera by Mukesh Muraleedharan and slickly edited by Mahesh Narayanan. The musical score by Gopi Sunder is brilliant, with the melodic track ‘Nee Mukilo..’ distinctly standing out on its own.
‘Uyare’ offers glimpses of a stirring, stimulating film that talks of some deep bruises earned that are gradually, but determinedly healed. This is exactly how I would want this tale to end, and in the final shot as we watch a beaming Pallavi take in the recognition that is accorded through the applause that rings all around her, I tell myself, that this is precisely the material that should make an inspirational film that makes our hearts skip a beat or two.