A refreshing tale of determination to outlive hinderances, stellar performances from the lead actors, gripping screenplay and strong social message, make this Malayalam movie worth watching.
Directed by – Manu Ashokan
Produced by – Shenuga, Shegna and Sherga
Starring – Parvathy Thiruvothu, Asif Ali and Tovino Thomas
The Malayalam word “Uyare” means “At the height” or “Up above”. It is the story of Pallavi Ravindran, an aspiring pilot. Since the age of 14 – when she met a woman pilot Natalia D’Costa and peeped inside the cockpit – she has been dreaming of becoming a pilot and leaves no stone unturned to achieve her ambition. She gets admission into a flying academy.
At the same time, she is in love with Govind – her boyfriend since school days. Pallavi finds it challenging to balance between her passion and love. On the other hand, Govind is a person with lots of insecurity and patriarchal prejudices. Govind does not approve her joining the course as he is expecting to get a job in the Gulf and wants Pallavi to go with him leaving her dream behind. Despite his indirect disapproval, Pallavi joins the flying academy.
Govind is the insecure boyfriend who even wants Pallavi inform him about the new hairstyle she is planning to have, what dress she will be wearing in the college dance show, where she would go in the evening, every little move of hers, everything. His authoritarian nature forces Pallavi to decide between her dream and her lover, and she chooses her dream.
Vengeful Govind throws acid on Pallavi’s face a day after she completes her training and gets a license to fly. The acid attack not only disfigures half her face, but it also distorts her left eye vision to some extent, and consequently, her license to fly also gets cancelled. Rest of the movie is about the everyday struggles of an acid attack survivor, her fight for justice and a respectful life. In her pursuit for self-respect and dignity, she got support from her father and a friend – Vishal.
Parvathy Thiruvothu has delivered arguably the best female actor performance of the year. Hindi viewers have seen her opposite Irrfan Khan in Qarib Qarib Single (2017). She has wonderfully portrayed the role of Pallavi Ravindran that the viewers feel the joy of her dreams and empathize with her as well when her dreams are shattered.
There are many scenes where Parvathy has shown her acting brilliance. For example, the scene where Pallavi looks herself in the mirror after the attack, the scene where she takes a selfie in the plane, the scene where Vishal is about to propose or the scene in which Govind’s father comes for compromise and Pallavi confronts him with a profound silence. Asif Ali as insecure, authoritarian Govind and Tovino Thomas as handsome, rich, flirtatious Vishal have done equally good in their respective roles. Siddhique has been impressive as Pallavi’s father.
Dirty Hands Studio – credited for the make-up – has done their job with perfection. Mukesh Muraleedharan has captured the scenes beautifully. They have also shot some scenes at Sheroes Hangout Café, Agra which is run by the survivors of acid attack. The writer-duo Bobby-Sanjay has beautifully weaved the story. The characters have been developed properly. The ambition, the tragedy and the pursuit for the self-respect of the lead role, the father-daughter relationship, the insecure and authoritarian boyfriend, everything seems so lifelike, so realistic.
Mahesh Narayanan’s editing is crisp. Gopi Sundar’s music is OK. Debutant Director Manu Ashokan has impressed the audience with his maiden venture, by grabbing the attention of viewers in the first few minutes itself and never loses grip throughout the movie. There are many scenes which make you think. The film also makes a statement on the judicial system. It is interesting to know that three sisters have produced the movie – Shenuga, Shegna and Sherga – who formed the company S-Cube Films.
This is a movie which challenges the conventional and regressive idea of beauty, which is based entirely on looks. It emphasizes that a person is not made of physical attributes only, it is the spirit, the confidence and self-respect that makes a person and that is the beauty that lasts, that cannot be destroyed. If you are moved by the trailers and eagerly waiting for Meghna Gulzar and Deepika Padukone’s “Chhapaak“ release, you must watch “Uyare” – a gem of a movie based on a similar theme – available on Netflix with English Subtitles.