Cinema

Uppu Karuvadu: A mildly entertaining take on the making of a movie

Watching Uppu Karuvadu is like watching sausages get made. They say it’s impossible to eat them once you’ve seen them being made. Isn’t the making of a film just as messy… just as bloody? What if someone were to tell you that your most favourite film was made just to launder money or to appease the producer’s own acting dreams… would you like the film any less?

Uppu Karuvadu is about one such film. Chandran (Karunakaran) after two unsuccessful outings as director has one last chance to make it big. So when a fisherman (with dirty money, of course) decides to produce a film just for his daughter, Chandran is asked to direct it. The very fact that he agrees to do this film is itself a compromise, so whatever happens to the film in his head?

These compromises begin with him transporting his village love story to Kasimedu, just because it’s easier to get permissions to shoot. The director, having selected a suitable actress for his female-centric film, is forced to replace her with the producer’s daughter, whose acting ability is inadequate even for a kindergarten play. And as for the producer, the story of the film isn’t half as important to him as the numerological correctness of the film’s title – Samuthirakumari.

What follows is the Chandran’s writing process as he’s accompanied by four assistants, each with their own take on direction. One such take includes a theory of how people in the film industry call good-natured protagonists a cliché, while an evil one is lauded as though it’s from world cinema. There’s a bit about Chandran asking his hero to sunbathe to turn a few shades darker just to emulate other fishermen from the village. What’s that if its not method acting? How about the scene where a bunch of goons disrupt the writing process, even before the script is finalised, because it supposedly insults their caste?

But the problem, really, isn’t the film’s idea. With a topic so wacky, there should be a certain deftness in direction to elevate what’s on paper. For instance, there’s an ambitious portion about how a particular scene looks better in the presence of an able actor in comparison to the producer’s daughter. With the same bit of wackiness pouring into direction, it could have been an incredibly powerful scene. Instead, we just have bunch of dialogues telling us it was powerful even though we don’t really see why.

There’s even a set of particularly frustrating self-referencing with several mentions of the director’s own Mozhi and Abhiyum Naanum. It’s as though the director was so sure of the script that he believed that all he needed was a camera to magically transform it into cinema. One wonders what these ideas could have been with better execution, with a bit of craft. There’s so much good material, so many interesting characters, so many funny ideas…but they remain mere ideas as we watch Uppu Karuvadu.

Genre: Comedy

Director: Radha Mohan

Cast: Karunakaran, Nanditha, M.S. Bhaskar, Mayilsamy

Storyline: A filmmaker needs to make a movie to accommodate the producer’s daughter

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 12:37:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/uppu-karuvadu-a-mildly-entertaining-take-on-the-making-of-a-movie/article7923261.ece

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