Uru: A page turner
Well crafted thriller with no compromises
What is the relationship writers have with their work? Do they live vicariously through the characters they create or perhaps, each character has a part of the writer within them? Uru attempts to answer this question with a line that goes,"Orey nerathula ellara maariyum irukanumna adhu oru ezhuthalanaaladhaan mudiyum." The writer of this film, Vicky Anand (who also doubles up as the director) proves that this is not just a throwaway line, by making you feel he has pervaded into the minds of each of the characters he introduces in the film.
Jeevan (Kalaiarasan) is a writer. In the opening scenes of the movie, we learn that he has gone from being a fresh young writer to a bankable author, and finally to a has-been--all over the course of 6 years. Now his publisher asks him to pick a new genre, say a thriller. His wife, Jenny (Sai Dhanshika), who has put aside her dreams of a family for his sake, now asks him to get a real job and put his writing aside for practical reasons. Pushed to the deep end, Jeevan comes up with the idea for a psychological thriller where the killer enjoys what he does and treats it as art, without any remorse over what he does. Jeevan goes to a mountain retreat, to write his story, only to find that his killer has come to life. What happens next forms the rest of the story.
Cast: Kalaiarasan, Sai Dhanshika, Mime Gopi, Danial Anne Pope, Jayabalan
Director: Vicky Anand
Uru is the kind of film in which the director displays a clear love for the craft. Take, for example, the way he introduces the characters’ names in the movie. We see Mime Gopi quite early in the movie but only towards the end of the first half do we get to know that his name is Thomas, via a handwritten note that is passed onto Jenny by a character who cannot speak. Or when there are two rabbits, named Romeo and Juliet, and one of the two goes missing, a subtle nod to dogs going missing in horror movies. Or when Jeevan tells Jenny that he is going away to write the story and she asks him what he is naming his novel, at which point the title credits roll with beautiful shots of the drive up the mountain which is interspersed with the name of the characters. Or when Jenny tells her neighbour where she is from, and how that line becomes useful at a later point in the story. That the debutant director does not waste space, and remains true to the universe of his story even as the end credits roll, speaks volumes about his sensibilities. Vicky Anand is clearly a filmmaker who has taken great pains to not insult the intelligence of his audience.
There are no songs and the movie’s background score largely drives the movie, with the use of silence, which is very important in such thrillers. The cinematography of the movie captures the lush landscapes and the dark interiors well, but perhaps the usage of one too many top down shots could have been avoided. Where the camera works magic is during the scenes where it acts as an extra character and gives life to the story. The film at various stages reminds you of Halloween (1978) and Scream (1996), but what happens towards the end is a double conceit which is very Nolanesque in its treatment and to me, it worked beautifully.
This is likely a star-making vehicle for Sai Dhanshika. While she has worked in the horror genre with Nil Gavani Sellathey, this is her Jamie Lee Curtis moment. When pitching to his publisher, Jeevan says, "Eppovume trendu maaraadha ore vishayam bayam," and after seeing this film, you are forced to agree.