The trailer of Vicky Anand’s Uru was so intriguing, that despite apprehensions about my limited knowledge of Tamil, I volunteered to review it. After all, doesn’t the tale of a masked killer, a frustrated writer, a benevolent god-fearing wife, and a lonely cabin in the mountains sound gripping?
But trailers can be deceptive. Especially when, as in Uru, the director feels the need to hold the audience’s hand and point out every twist and turn. Especially the ones you see coming from miles away. And if that weren’t terrible enough, there’s the actors who look so lost.
It wasn’t the trailer alone that raised false expectations. There’s also the effusive praise on social media:
— Dhananjayan Govind (@Dhananjayang) June 12, 2017
— Harish kalyan (@iamharishkalyan) June 12, 2017
— caarthick raju (@caarthickraju) June 12, 2017
Now I have to ask, did we watch the same film?
Jeevan (Kalairasan) is a chain-smoking writer with writer’s block. His wife Jenny (Sai Dhanshika) is hell-bent on him getting an actual job. But after one drag of a marijuana joint, Jeevan has an epiphany for a thriller. A thriller that no one (according to him) has ever dared to write about – a story from the perspective of a serial killer.
(Clearly, this particular writer is unfamiliar with the works of Thomas Harris and Bret Easton Ellis.)
So off he goes to a secluded place in the hills to contemplate. He showers in the nearby waterfalls, chills with a book on a large rock, watches horror movies. And only much later does he get to writing his story. Mind you, he’s now a stoner who can roll perfect joints, because that one tryst with marijuana was enough to get him hooked.
The game begins. Whatever he writes, comes alive. The wind chimes, the random neighbour taps at the door, the clock ticks like a time bomb. And the masked killer appears.
Soon enough, reality becomes stranger than fiction. With Jenny entering the scene, the game takes a dangerous turn. She’s left to fend for herself without being able to grasp why there’s a serial killer targeting her and the people around her.
And with that, the director takes the audience on a trip packed with amateur plot twists and dragging scenes. Now the jury (of proper Tamil speakers) is still out on what ‘Uru’ means, but hopefully that at least has something to do with the story.
As a debutant filmmaker, Vicky Anand isn’t half as bad as his peers. Uru does guarantee a few scares, and that shows potential. But the real credit for that goes to Johan Shevanesh, and his wonderful use of sounds. Anand understands the importance of sound effects, and places them like a pro in the scenes where they’re needed.
Take those away, and the scenes would fall flat.
For a psychological thriller to really work, we need convincing plot, we need the kind of suspense that will lure the audience in. Vicky, however, takes his thriller ideas and stirs it into an inedible mish-mash. Sprinkle in dazed actors and what’s left is an agonisingly long film that just doesn’t seem to stop.
Kalaiarasan has showed potential in previous films, especially in Kabali and Adhe Kangal. Here, he perpetually looks like a guilty student caught copying by the teacher.
Sai Dhanshika seems to have picked up a knack for choosing inane (unthrilling) thrillers lately. If Enga Amma Rani‘s review is anything to go by, Dhanshika’s role in Uru isn’t much different from her role in that film. Both characters face inexplicable situations and resort to wooden acting in the second half.
With such a promising trailer, Uru could’ve done so much more. Of course, the tale of a boring, frustrated writer who gets a story idea after one puff of a joint, and then embarks on a trippy killing spree isn’t a first. And going by the praises being heaped on this below-average film, it won’t be the last such ‘psychological thriller’ in Tamil cinema.
At the end, the audience is left feeling – if only the characters had died sooner. If only the film had ended quicker. If only the weekend watch had been a little less agonising.
The Uru 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.