Udumban takes a satirical look at private educational institutions which charge exorbitant fees, and have become lucrative money-making propositions for those who want to make fast bucks. Director S Balan’s (of the Naagariga Komaali fame) take on the corruption prevalent in the system is cheeky and humorous, driving home many valid points. If only the script was presented in a better way.
Dilip Roger, the champion bike racer debuts as an actor. He plays Udumban, a petty thief who has a pet udumbu (a monitor lizard) which helps him during his thieving activities. Roger moulds himself according to the requirements of the role, acquitting himself as the rustic thief who finds out that opening a school in his village is a more lucrative option and an easier way of robbing people of their money, than sneaking into their houses and stealing it. It’s the dance –fight
routine that seems to discomfort the racer-turned-actor. And though the director has tried to camouflage it with graphics, Roger’s limbs are all over the
place during the act.
Balan’s characters are quirky. For example, Udumban’s elder brother Kaalai, a rowdy, is allergic to lizard-meat. Sunil, who, with his menacing grunts and mannerisms steals the show many a time, provides much of the humour in the second half. The actors are new but fit in suitably, like Chellakuri as the corrupt police man, and Senthil as Udumban’s friend. The romantic angle provided by Isaipriya ( Sana aka Radhika from the Malayalam screen). is also commendable.
She conducts research for her thesis on corruption in educational institutions in film. During her research, she lands up at Udumban’s school to record the goings on. Lacing his scenes and dialogue with humour even when the going is tough for the characters, the director takes a dig at the inadequacies and flaws in the system. The satirical touches are amusing.
Obama’s huge photo finds a place on the wall behind the school founder’s chair, while Abdul Kalam’s photo is relegated to a side wall.
‘Udumban’ definitely is not the best script. The scripting is patchy and the narration is inconsistent. The film could have been done in a more stylish way to appeal to a larger audience. But what is consistent and holds up the film to a large extent, is the line of humour and satire that runs throughout. ‘Udumban’ delivers much more that what one expected.