Uppena Review & Rating
Uppena Review: Huge Storm, Not A Hurricane You Might Expect
Love stories have been made into cinemas gazillion times that we need sub-genres or subplots to make them engaging nowadays. Some take caste and creed. A few others make circumstances the opposing force. Some love stories are about class differences, honour killings, and even ego issues. But whatever the flavour, love stories appeal to one and all. But how well the filmmaker makes the audience connect to the protagonists, and how well the emotions are ignited in their hearts make a love story successful.
Sairat. Colour Photo. Sai Pallavi’s segment in Paava Kadhaigal. These are some of the recent love stories that were successful at the box office. The common thread among these is the love stories themselves aren’t successful. They ended on a tragic note. It has been the case since the beginning of the... okay! Leave it, as tragic love stories are more appealing than successful ones.
Our fascination with tragic love stories
The reason is simple. As most real life love tales cannot even grow into love stories, as the majority of people experience failure or loss of love at least once in their life, people tend to be jealous of successful love stories. Hence they cannot bear with the thought of someone successful where they failed. Obviously, though most love to see successful love stories on-screen, it is only the tragic or painful failures that are immortalised as great love stories.
Now, coming to Uppena, the biggest draw of this film is not Vaishnav Tej nor the film itself. That Uppena has the endorsement of Creative Director Sukumar and comes from his stable, Sukumar Writings is a major attraction. Then obviously the star kid in a lead role. Vaishnav proving himself to be a talent to watch out for even before the release of the film (he grabbed at least two more chances), Devi Sri Prasad’s music, chartbuster songs, and Makkal Selvan Vijay Sethupathi as the antagonist. All added to the buzz.
The film which is backed by Mythri Movie Makers withstood the pressure to go the OTT route during the lockdown. One of the reasons is the huge budget spent on it. At around 21 crores, this film needed a big offer to breakeven for the producers. But fluctuations in the pricing post the epic failure of V on OTT release (Amazon managed okayish in the end and producers have a blockbuster deal), that this being the debut film of a star kid, from Mega Family no less, finally got it a theatrical release.
So, what is the story?
Boy loves a girl (no, Tollywood hasn’t grown to immortalise a non-natural love story yet). And we all know what happens. So, to cut a long blabber short, let’s ask new questions like Ravi Teja in Kick says. Kothadi Cheppu!
Panja Vaishnav Tej is better than expected on-screen despite this much hype. He’s expressive, has ease in his histrionics, good in emotions, can talk with his eyes, and the screen presence matches that of Mega Prince Varun Tej. His dialogue delivery is refreshingly good for a first timer from Mega Family. If he properly plans his career, he’ll become as successful as his cousin Varun, and may join Ram Charan in the big league. He has this IT. There are a few falterings here and there. But he’s a man to watch out for in the future. Mark our words. He played the role of Aasi, a boy from fishermen family. The body language is authentic.
Much is talked about Vijay Sethupathi. But it is ironic to watch him as a villain in a love story after watching him in ‘96. Isn’t it cruel on the part of the makers to make our beloved Ramachandra be made into the ruthless Shesharayanam? Hell! But obviously he did well. In fact he’s the backbone of this film. That Vaishnav Tej didn’t pale before an accomplished actor like Mr. Cinema Vijay Sethupathi shows his future in a bright light. Vijay S, though you’re a villain in this film, we cannot help but love you. As an actor.
Kirthi Shetty is another asset of this film. She’s cute. Gorgeous. And all that Antarctican icy things one describes about heroines. But she brought more to the table than just a pretty face. This is one of the best debuts in Tollywood by an actress in our recent memory. Samantha in Ye Maaya Chesave, Nabha in Nanni Dochukunduvate... and the unforgettable show by Nithya Menen in Ala Modalaindi. Of course, I know you got the point. That’s why these many offers for her. But don’t expect her to sport this hauntingly gorgeous trado look in her next films.
Sai Chand is good as Vaishnav Tej’s father. But this film is mostly between Shesharayanam and Sangeetha aka Bebamma as portrayed by Krithi Shetty.
The music by Devi Sri Prasad is soulful. There are already chartbusters on the album. The songs are picturised very well. The cinematography is superb. Went hand in hand with narration. It created the world of this love story as imagined by the director. The editing is okay. The editor could have used his scissors a bit effectively. The art department is terrific in their work. The production values are lavish.
Buchi Babu Sana
So, Buchi Babu Sana is a good filmmaker is an understatement. He has all it takes to be a top filmmaker. He needs to make his narration crisp. And has no apparent weaknesses as a director. The narration is immersive. The screenplay is perfect in the first half in establishing what’s gonna happen in the second half. He used Chekhov’s Gun technique effectively. The twists are executed very well. The climax is unexpected even with all this chatter. Buchi has a lot of stuff. And he’s deservedly asked by Mythri for another movie.
All in all, Uppena is more of a showcase of various talents than a proper epic love tale. It could have been in a world where we haven’t witnessed Sairat or Colour Photo or even some of the recent Tamil films. But it nearly reached those heights in a different way. Commercially, this film has great potential to be a success. You can watch it once without knowing about the story beats and plot elements. That’s the reason we have skipped on our usual elaboration on the story. Just go and watch.
It may not be a tornado. But it’s no less than a... fearsome huge storm.
Rating: 2.75 out of 5
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I am eagerly waiting for the movie