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‘Ullasam’ movie review: Shane Nigam, Pavithra Lakshmi star in dull, meandering rom-com

A still from ‘Ullasam’

A still from ‘Ullasam’

Ullasam is replete with philosophy and life lessons at every turn, so much so that one wishes that there was a notebook to write down some of these for later reference. The centrepiece of the film's philosophy is the 'bracket theory' expounded by Harry (Shane Nigam) to Nima (Pavithra Lakshmi). Both of them are stranded somewhere in the middle of the forests in Ooty, having conveniently fallen off a train. After the initial hostility, as we have seen in countless other films, they begin to slowly warm up to each other.

Some adventures, including one in a very film set-like tribal village, and some more wrong turns later, Harry puts forward his theory. He asks her to imagine this part of their lives, when the two strangers are stranded in ‘nowhereland,’ as the lines written inside a bracket in the middle of a long paragraph. As per his theory, the lines inside the bracket are usually not connected to the ones that are outside (one wonders who writes such pointless sentences inside brackets). And so, what happens during their time there, will not have any connection to their real lives. The film, on expected lines, goes on to prove that theory wrong.

Ullasam
Director: Jeevan Jojo
Cast: Shane Nigam, Pavithra Lakshmi

Jeevan Jojo’s debut directorial exists in a ‘nowhereland,’ having missed the train which left the station a few years back. It exists in a time when jokes on the LGBTQIA+ community were considered par for the course. One of the “heroic” acts of Harry in the film has him acting as a gay person to put a groom in trouble and stop the wedding. Another running joke in the film is about Harry’s full name – Harry Menon – because having mixed names signifying different communities is supposedly a joke. Harry’s father happens to be named Richard Menon, as a cue for another joke.

During their travels in Ooty, Harry and Nima do not reveal anything about themselves, but seem to convey that both have some deeply emotional background stories. When their backgrounds are revealed later, it turns out both are living rather comfortable lives, with nothing more than the usual difficulties that anyone would face. Nima is even heard saying that Harry will hate her if he sees her real self, but there is nothing in her actual life to justify such a comment. The theme of a chance meeting developing into something much more deeper could have been effective if the script had some substance to support it.

One wishes that the ‘bracket theory’ would work for the time spent watching Ullasam, which hardly provides any joy (ullasam) to the audience.

Ullasam is currently running in theatres


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 1:12:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/ullasam-movie-review-shane-nigam-pavithra-lakshmi-star-in-dull-meandering-rom-com/article65589112.ece