Malayalam Reviews

Ente Ummante Peru Review: Urvashi and Tovino Thomas Shine In This Genial Comedy

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Director: Jose Sebastian

Cast: Tovino Thomas, Urvashi, Siddique

Composer: Gopi Sunder

Filmmaker Jose Sebastian, in his debut film, tries to answer an age-old question of what makes a mother – the act of giving birth or maternal instincts. He doesn’t delve into the complex dimensions of the topic, but manages to deliver a modest comedy that focuses on two individuals’ desperation to find a familial bond.

The film begins from Thalassery, and takes brief trips to Ponnani and Kozhikkode before leaving for the archaic city of Lucknow where the latter half unfolds. Hameed (Tovino Thomas), an amiable young man, starts feeling the pangs of loneliness after his sole relative, his father Haider, passes away leaving him a giant estate including a sprawling house and an antique shop named Firdouse. Finally, when it turns out that he might not be able to marry the girl he likes, thanks to his status as an orphan, Hameed decides to go in search of his mother who, he believes, is one of the two former wives of his father. The search takes him to a woman, Aysha (Urvashi) who neither denies nor accepts his claim, but doesn’t refuse his offer to move into his house as his mother.

The plot is founded on the crypticness of Haider’s personality. The man never appears in the film (except for a brief voice-over), but his shadow is cast on every scene. The screenplay manages to hold the intrigue. The information about the man is smoothly and slowly spilled into the narrative. The people of Thalassery, including Haider’s close friend Hamsa (Mammukkoya), talk about him as a recluse. Hameed remembers him as a strict father who didn’t like to express his affection. As the film proceeds, Hameed comes across more people and things that tell him of a different person his father used to be. In an early scene, Hameed tells the woman he likes, rather shyly, that he is a graduate in Malayalam language and literature. Later, we come to know of the artistic side of Haider and his love for literature, and it fits. In a telling scene, Hameed is taken aback when he finds out where the name of his antique shop comes from.  The journey to trace his birth mother, interestingly, helps him discover the man he lived with for 28 years.

The early scenes set in Thalassery, that resemble a low-brow absurd drama, are thoroughly enjoyable, especially with the arrival of Aysha who infuses a lot of mirth and energy into the film. Hameed’s close friend Beeran (Hareesh Kanaran) is obsessed with disco dance that he practices at a local dance institute, and the man is particularly adamant about never giving the dance classes a miss. In one of the scenes, Aysha and Hameed go to the latter’s girlfriend’s house where Aysha has a hilarious face-off with her father. The scene ends with a close-up shot of Hameed smiling in surprise and pride. He isn’t an orphan anymore. Actor Siddique stuns in a cameo that offers him a respite from the stereotypical mushy roles he has been doing a lot these days.

Ironically, this portion harms the film as much as it helps, for its jumbled nature. For instance, there are at least two scenes involving a local tea seller who ridicules him everyday about his orphan status as though it’s part of his routine timetable. The fact that Hameed hadn’t ever met or even heard about Sreedharan (Dileesh Pothan), who claims to be a bosom friend of Haider, although they live in neighboring cities, is not believable. It just doesn’t feel like a real space where real people live.

The movie attains a focus after Hameed and Aysha move to Lucknow in search of his birth mother. In spite of the familiar routes that the film takes and the highly predictable ending, this portion is a delightful watch, thanks to the lead pair’s performance. Urvashi ages like red wine, taking the audience by surprise with every new acting opportunity that comes her way. Her Aysha is a loud-mouthed woman at first sight, who is hard to be hushed down. Urvashi plays the role with a certain restraint that lets you see what is beneath the shield of the semi-lunatic personality that keeps people away from her – she is a woman abandoned by her husband, and leading a solitary life in a house cut off from the main village center. She is amply backed by her co-star Tovino Thomas who is a natural talent when it comes to playing sweet young men whose masculinity isn’t toxic, like Mathan in Mayaanadhi or Ajayan in Oru Kuprasidha Payyan. In Ente Ummante Peru, Thomas delivers his best performance this year.

*****

The Ente Ummante Peru review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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