Monday, May 28, 2012

User Review - Urumi - A benchmark for dubbed movies!

More than a year after Urumi released in Malayalam, the film has finally released in Tamil. However, it is nothing short of its original counterpart and despite being dubbed, it has all the qualities of a great movie. I can go a step further and say that this is probably the best dubbed film I have seen. Credit goes to the entire team that has made this possible.

Urumi is directed by Santhosh Sivan, who is know more in the Tamil film industry as a cinematographer, thanks to his work in several movies including Roja, Iruvar and Raavanan. His style in direction is reminiscent of Asoka, the 2001 Shah Rukh Khan starrer, which didn't do very well. Ten years later, taking up a period film again, Santhosh Sivan has shown how much he has grown as a director. For starters, portraying a film like Urumi and its periodical elements are a daunting task in itself. To be cinematographing, partly-producing and directing the movie at the same time represents a job that cannot be put into words. We salute you for your efforts!

If you had seen the posters, you would know that this film includes a lot of big actors. Prithviraj (who is also producing this time), Prabhu Deva, Genelia, Nithya Menon, Amole Gupte (writer of Taare Zameen Par and Stanley Ka Dabba), Vidya Balan, Jagathy Sreekumar (who has acted in more than 1000 Malayalam movies) are part of a long prominent. In addition, Arya and Tabu also do guest roles in this one. All of the characters played by these roles add weight to the film and with Santhosh Sivan directing them, they have possibly done one of the best portrayals ever, despite how long they take the screen.

The lead actors are Prithviraj, Prabhu Deva, Genelia and Nithya Menon and they are the ones who take up considerably more screen time. I was surprised to see that they were not the ones who had done the dubbing. Their performance deserves credit. Action sequences, adjusting to costumes and some very good reactions shown during dialogues give the movie a very natural look. However, a little more effort and time in dubbing would have gone a long way. This would definitely be a shortcoming.

The highlight of the movie and perhaps the most important factor in enticing the audience and reducing the dubbing-factor would be the dialogues by Sasikumaran. Dialogue translation is difficult on its own, but translating a Malayalam period movie and yet managing to keep the very essence of it and also matching them with the original lip movements, WOW! If you ought to give credit to one man for how good this movie is, or how it has been managed to be released, you must look at Sasikumaran.

The next specific credit goes to Deepak Dev, the music director. I could notice several genres in the music and was very delighted to learn that there was no electronic music used. Others may complain, but I credit him for capturing and delivering tunes to the director that have made a whole lot of difference.

To get into more technical stuff, Santhosh Sivan's cinematography is brilliant, which is not surprising. Slow-motion action sequences close up shots of actors; capturing emotions during dialogue delivery and using unique angles in the music videos are all attributes to his work. It makes me wonder if he becomes a better cinematographer if he takes the director's seat. Sreekar Prasad's editing makes the movie intriguing and gripping throughout the 160 minutes despite some annoying scenes which seem to be dragging. Costumes are admirable, but are far from the best we have seen in modern-day cinema. The budget of the film being Rs.23 crores is also a surprise.

Despite having a complete package, there are quite a few shortcomings. Some of the voices do not match the faces of characters correctly and I could find many inconsistencies in the way the scenes got more importance on some occasions and not so much on others. The storyline makes you think a lot, but also makes you wonder if there is too much fantasy involved.

However, the good points trump the bad ones very easily and I promise you will have a great time if you see it in the theatre. Do not write this one off because it's a dubbed movie, or don't just simply get the Malayalam version and see it home. The big screen adds a lot of things to your experience, even more than the traditional movies. Compare it with Asoka, and you will be able to see the minute differences that make Urumi a whole lot better.

Rating - 4/5 for giving fans a very unique and historical experience.

Verdict - Urumi is a winner and all audiences will enjoy it, especially when they are watching it for the first time.


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