Uyare Review: Poignant, classy drama worth cheering for
From the first frame to the last, Uyare is an exercise in restrained, sensitive filmmaking
Bold. Confidence. Class. These are the three words used by Vishal (Tovino Thomas) to describe Pallavi Raveendran, Parvathy's character in Uyare. I would use the same three words to describe this film. It's very rare to see a film that perfectly reflects the qualities of its protagonist.
Uyare announces the arrival of another self-assured filmmaker, Manu Ashokan. From the first frame to the last, the film is an exercise in restrained, sensitive filmmaking. This restraint is seen in the performances and also in the shot composition. The one thing I liked most about the film is that it doesn't make you cry copious tears in spite of telling a story about an acid attack survivor. Uyare proves that it's possible to tell a poignant story without resorting to melodrama.
Director: Manu Ashokan
Cast: Parvathy, Tovino Thomas, Asif Ali
Given the complexity of the film's subject and the statements it makes on unhealthy relationships, bad parenting, and beauty norms, it requires a deft hand to weave them all together into a poignant narrative. The three main characters all have one thing in common: They are desperate to regain control of their lives from their loved ones' hands. Pallavi is, as I mentioned earlier, bold, confident, and classy. But these qualities are not seen whenever she is in the presence of her needy, insecure, and annoyingly possessive boyfriend, Govind (Asif Ali). She is at her best when she is by herself or with other people. The minute her boyfriend makes an appearance, she turns into someone she doesn't wish to be.
A woman of immense potential, Pallavi possesses every quality necessary to help her accomplish her dreams. Though she fulfills her childhood ambition of becoming a pilot, being stuck with a clingy man with self-destructive tendencies can only take you so far. The answer to why she ended up with him is given much early on, and it's a perfectly reasonable explanation. Denied the validation from their own fathers, some women seek the same from a lover. Pallavi is a perfect example. A woman whose mother passed away when she was in her teens, Pallavi decided to go with the one person who comforted her when no one else was available during a distressing moment, even her own father (Siddique).
The film is not necessarily saying that parents are always to be blamed for their kids' flaws, but that in some cases, it can be the fault of the parents. The three primary characters are products of parents who couldn't find enough time for their children because they were too occupied with their careers. It's this attitude the film is critical of. Govind's father blames himself for his son turning out the way he did. Vishal's ex-girlfriend (Samyuktha Menon) disapproves of his tendency to do exactly what his father demands. And Pallavi tells her father that she hated him for a brief period.
Going by the way they interact with others, one gets the feeling that all three of them are introverts. But being an introvert doesn't make one incapable of doing bigger things. For example, Vishal is a man of many talents. He runs an airline company, conducts motivational programs, and takes part in TV shows. But when he wants to celebrate his birthday, he only invites Pallavi. He is also the coolest character in the film -- apart from Pallavi and her best friend (played by Anarkali Marikar), of course.
On the other hand, Govind is portrayed as this brooding young man who is unwilling to break out of his comfort zone, which eventually proves detrimental to his well-being. A man of extremely low self-esteem, Govind finds in Pallavi an ideal companion, someone he can control. Every time she wishes to do something, she has to seek his approval. He tries to intrude every chance he gets. He makes his presence known wherever she goes, be it through a phone call or a WhatsApp message. Can you imagine how frustrating and suffocating such a relationship can be?
The staging of the acid attack is not as disturbing as I had expected. This is Parvathy after all. She doesn't give an overly theatrical performance. Her performance is a lesson on how to deliver the maximum impact without going overboard. The scene where Pallavi sees her disfigured face for the first time got me all choked up. We are shocked and angered by her plight, but we are also overjoyed at her extraordinary ability to endure in the face of all odds. Uyare is another impressive addition to Parvathy's filmography.