Uriyadi is set in 1999. Four friends are studying in an Engineering college on the outskirts of Trichy. Hailing from neighbouring towns, they while away their time, smoking and drinking at a local dhaba. Their hostel walls are adorned with posters of Simran, Kajol, and Madhuri Dixit. When one of their mother’s visits, they hurriedly tear down the posters and replace them with pictures of Gods. Their dialogue is full of jokes that leave the audience smiling.
The situation changes when one day, the dhaba owner refuses to serve an elderly man, because he’s from a ‘lower’ caste. Turns out that these idle youth are socially conscious as well. They question the owner. After that, unexpectedly, and sometimes on purpose, they run into caste based political groups who try make use of the situation for their own ends.
It’s hard to call Uriyadi a political thriller because its subject is so specific. There are conniving characters, like the one played by Mime Gopi. He exploits situations for his own advantage. For instance, he incites communal violence in the town for his own profit.
The names of the towns and the castes are muted in the film, but we know that the references are to Tamil Nadu’s Southern districts, where, even now, honour killing and caste based discrimination is rampant. The boldness of director Vijay Kumar’s approach to these issues is commendable.
Uriyadi is a film for adults, not only because of the violence on screen, but also for the way characters are sketched. The audience isn’t given any heroes to look up to. The young protagonists are realistically drawn, hot-headed college students. They just know how and when to fight back. The stunts have been choreographed realistically. We watch the men slip, fall, and get hurt, unlike in mass movies where heroes emerge from fights without a scratch.
The screenplay moves back and forth between the imaginations of the characters and reality, testing the audience’s understanding of cinema. It’s clear from the production value that Uriyadi was made on a small budget, but the quality of the screenplay and acting (including Vijay Kumar’s) more than compensate for this.
The non-intrusive background score and songs are also highly effective. Masala Coffee, the band who composed the music for the film are definitely a talent to look out for. It’s impossible to not find yourself humming the ‘Kaantha’ song as you leave the theatre.
Uriyadi may not be a complete film; the plot is narrow and the characters circle around it over and over again. There is gore, drinking, and vomiting. Drug abuse is both discussed and shown extensively. But none of it is unjustified. Uriyadi is an honest attempt by a capable team which proves that in filmmaking, budget and quality are different entities. Vijay Kumar needs to be appreciated for bringing out the best possible result with the resources at hand.
The Uriyadi review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.