Maheshinte Pratheekaram! Inakapothe?
That is the question that’s pricking this writer’s mind ever since the Telugu remake of the Malayalam instant classic Maheshinte Pratheekaram is announced. What if the story of Mahesh’s tale of vengeance couldn’t be translated to the Telugu screens. But two things that kept me having confidence are: It is Satya Dev who’s the lead actor. Satya Dev has grown in stature slowly but steadily ever since his first solo outing Bluff Master impressed. And it is Venkatesh Maha who delivered one of our own Malayalamystic film like C/o Kancharapalem who handles this film.
As expected the director translated the film very well. But how well? During this lockdown, Uma Maheshwara Ugra Roopasya is one of the most highly awaited films to be released. As we have no hopes of theatrical releases anytime soon, and not every film could be watched in small screens, this is a film that can be munched in pieces in the comforts of our couches, chairs, beds, or even while journeying (if there is a chance). For it’s a simple film. And we have already watched the original on small screens.
Let’s see what’s in store for us with Uma Maheshwara Ugra Roopasya review.
Uma Maheshwara Rao and the world he lives in
Uma Maheshwara Rao aka Mahesh is a small scale photographer with skills we attribute generally to comedy actors of the films in the 1960s when they portray a photographer role in the films. Means, not very good. But not very bad. He can manage to click usable photographs. His father finds beauty in smallest things. Mahesh is pragmatic and doesn’t have many dreams that are beyond his means. He loves a girl of his heart’s wish and wants to settle down in life.
He lives in Araku - a master stroke by Venkatesh Maha to transfer Idukki setting to Araku, despite Araku is fast losing its original natural charm. Mahesh dislikes confrontations. He wants to escape when he senses aggression. His closest confidante is Babji, who’s as close to him as his own father. When a chain of events result in Mahesh getting humiliated in the middle of the marketplace, he vows not to wear his footwear till he takes vengeance on the person who insulted him - Jogi.
The story can happen anywhere
This is a story that can happen anywhere in the world. That is the beauty of this simple film. All the scenes and scenarios right from the word go are simple, natural and progress organically like they happen in our lives. It’s just like the highlight reels of Mahesh’s life that are captured into one coherent narration. The smaller details, the lush greenery of the backdrop, the earthiness of the characters, their language, mannerisms, and everything is translated very well for Telugu audience.
There is no hurry in the narration. It all takes time like in real life to get to the point and builds up from there in a tempo that seeks our attention. Once the narration captures our attention, it never lets us move our eyes from the screen. The dialogues carried original flavour. Original as in the original Telugu flavour. The screenplay is uncomplicated and the plot points are inserted at the right moments without fuss.
Satya Dev and Co
Satya Dev is superb as usual in the role of Mahesh. His performance has the punch required to make us identity with his role. His expressions are not artificial. His smile is childlike and the screen presence is pleasing. He has the vulnerability of a meek man. He has the self-respect. He has the rightful anger of a man who’s wronged for no mistake of his by a Pariah.
Roopa Koduvayur who played the role of Jyothi, the sister of Jogi, is good. Her scenes in the second half with Satya Dev form the life blood of the film. Their romance is organic and you’ll understand it without being shown explicitly. Suhas who played one of Mahesh’s buddies is good. He’s improving with every new film he’s in. Senior actor Naresh is always fun to watch and he once again proved why he’s rated so high by Telugu film critics as an actor. His friendship with Satya Dev’s Mahesh is heart-warming.
The things to watch out for are:
1. The brilliantly executed opening sequence
2. The lead up scene to the plot point one
3. The actual scene (where mahesh is humiliated)
4. Uma Maheshwara Ugra Roopasya - Mahesh’s rightful anger and his declaration of vengeance
5. Jyothi is called by her mother as rude
6. Mahesh clicking the photograph of Jyothi without her permission and she rebuffs him
7. Suhas character suggesting Mahesh is regressive (would bring out whistles in theatres)
8. Mahesh learning Kung Fu
9. The actual act of vengeance
The man who played Mahesh’s father is good. He is Raghavan - Malayalam actor - and his performance makes us feel like we’re in the old world where simple pleasures of life are all that really matter. Though unsolicited, his advice to Mahesh is like pearls of wisdom. Though some of these scenes don’t contribute to the actual plot of the film, they help in creating atmosphere.
The music by Bijibal is quite charming. The sounds are pleasant without sounding trivial. The cinematography by Appu Prabhakar is top-notch to look at on a small screen with HDR capabilities ;-). The rustic charm (however little is left in Araku) is captured well. The editing is neat. The production values are competent. Vijaya Praveena Paruchuri, Shobu Yarlagadda, and Prasad Devineni did a great job with this film.
Uma Maheshwara Ugra Roopasya is as much a tribute to the original (Maheshinte Pratheekaram) as it is its own entity. Those who like Malayalamystic style of filmmaking love it obviously. Those who are accustomed to watch simple and pleasurable films on television like older folk may find it good. And for the rest, it offers good entertainment (without exerting it too much). A well made comedy drama that will surely compare well to the original.
• Satya Dev
• The basic premise
• Simple yet textured narration
• Pleasant musical score
• Charms of simple life
• Apparently slow narration
• This is a Great film and our people will nitpick anyway
Rating: 3.25 out of 5
Reviewed by: GitacharYa