Chennai, 30 Jul 2020 19:24 IST
Updated: 31 Jul 2020 12:13 IST
Thankfully, the film is not serious and mostly works as a lighthearted take on rage and masculinity.
Towards the end of Venkatesh Maha’s Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya, there is a brief but important scene between a daughter and her mother. The daughter asks her mother if she thinks men are stupid. Nodding in agreement, the mother says their stupidity and rage know no bounds.
The entire film, a remake of the cherished Malayalam drama Maheshinte Prathikaaram (2016), is built on the notion of masculinity and rage. The film questions the very need for virility and the extent to which men can go to flaunt and celebrate it. For an industry (Telugu cinema) that thrives on the glorification of masculinity in the garb of heroism, here is a film that comes as a whiff of fresh air.
The story, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Araku valley, centres on an average guy, photographer Uma Maheswara Rao, played by the terrific Satya Dev, whose world revolves around his aged father, his childhood crush and his photo studio. When Mahesh is roughed up for no mistake of his in the town’s marketplace when he tries to stop a conflict, he swears not to put on his slippers again till he has avenged the beating.
For a story that’s about a common man’s revenge, the film is thankfully not serious and mostly works as a lighthearted take on rage and masculinity. Though a remake, Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya has its own charm and works beautifully because it adapts the story to the rural Telugu setting quite convincingly.
It is aided well by the good performances from the supporting cast, especially the likes of veteran Naresh (who is unbelievably good) and others like Suhas and newbie Roopa Koduvayur.
Satya Dev, who has been consistently good of late, is a solid match to Fahadh Faasil in the Malayalam original, and though you are reminded of Fahadh's mannerisms in a few scenes, Satya still manages to make his character unique in his own way. One may argue as much as one wants about the film being a remake, but one can’t complain about Satya Dev’s effortlessly good performance.
Having made a solid impression with his award-winning first film C/o Kancharapalem (2018), it was slightly disappointing when it was announced that Venkatesh Maha’s second film would be a remake. But the young filmmaker makes a big impression again with Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya, and proves that he has better understanding of the rural setting that most of his contemporaries in cinema.
There is something beautiful about the way Maha uses the setting in his films to elevate the viewing experience. If it was Kancharapalem in his first film, it is Araku in Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya.
Netflix is now streaming Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya.
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