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Packaged with skill

A POIGNANT story with a relevant message, well-etched characters, neat screenplay, pertinent dialogue, and expressions which convey much more than words, make Adhi Bahavaan Talkies' & Friendship Scripts' production "Urumaatram", a worthy effort. After winning many an accolade for his Swetha starrer, "Ayeesha", B. Sivakumar returns with this half hour film that carries a simple yet significant message. He also sends out the signal of optimism — the hope that all is not lost, if only you have the drive to improve things around you. "Actually it was a real life incident that inspired me to make this film," says Sivakumar.

Thangavelu's (R. C. Sakti) life revolves round his old but beautiful house in Ooty and the big garden outside, which has a whole lot of fruit-bearing trees and flowering plants. The chirping of the birds is music to his ears, and watching the colourful butterflies flitting around and drinking in the beauty of his place are things he has grown up with and cannot live without. But a discordant note is struck when his son (G. M. Sundhar) decides to sell the house and take his father away to the city.

"Urumaatram" has just five characters, but each has a definite part to play. Even Thangavelu's daughter-in-law (Lakshmi) who has very little to do in the film, makes her presence felt when she gives her husband a bit of her mind — just a couple of lines but they seem sufficient.

R. C. Sakti, filmmaker well known for his bold themes in cinema, comes across as a performer with potential in "Urumaatram". Dialogue is redundant for this man, whose eyes and body language amply reveal much more than what words can. "I wanted a new face for the old man's role, though as an actor too Sakthi is not totally new. He has done a role in the film "Jameela" and Kamal had used Sakthi for a role in "Marudhanayagam" ... I felt that he would be apt for the role in "Urumaatram" and he's done a commendable job," says Sivakumar. The agony of the old man as the trees in his garden are being felled, warrants special mention. The silent bond he shares with his practical and down to earth Man Friday, Nammazhwar, is appealing. It is a role executed with finesse.

"There's a reason for including Nammazhwar in the cast," Sundhar tells you. "Nammazhwar is a social scientist and an authority in organic farming. So any message on eco-awareness would have better impact if he played a part, felt filmmaker Sivakumar."

Director Sivakumar clearly has a way with children — if it was Swetha who made an impact as "Ayeesha", it is the child Ansari, who appears in the role of Ashok, the young grandson, who impresses with his natural portrayal. He is spontaneous in his reactions as the caring, loving child who finally sows seeds of hope in the anguished grand dad. G. M. Sundhar has gained a lot of weight since his last offbeat attempt, "Oorukku Nooru Paer", but he is apt and true-to-life as the son who is adamant about having his way.

The re-recording (Ilakkiyan) that includes telling moments of silence accentuates the effect in most of the scenes. The other worthy credits are Sribharani's camera work and Suresh Urs's editing.

The only point is that even in the first scene you can guess what would happen next. The heartening end, however, comes as a pleasant surprise.

A graphic portrayal that begins and ends in a jiffy — yet sets you thinking for long.


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