Deviating from his sentimental, feel-good family entertainers, director Radhamohan ventures into a light-hearted satirical take on the compromises human beings make to fulfil their aspirations.
The story-line is thin. And at times, the film may seem like a series of stand-up comedy acts sewn together. But what it manages to do is to keep the viewers entertained for the most part. The gags and one-liners follow in quick succession, the actors making the most of them.
For Karunakaran, it’s his first lead role and he plays it with cool efficiency. He essays Chandran, a film director. Chandran’s first film had flopped, his second had been stalled midway through, and the man had set his hopes on his third venture which he was about to begin. His sister’s marriage was on the cards. Chandran needs the film and money, and is ready to make any compromise. How he finds a producer with the help of his manager Pandiyan (Mayilsamy in his elements), and the compromises he is forced to make, is narrated with loads of humour.
The way Chandran forms his directorial team generates some fun moments. Take the scene where he interviews wannabe-assistant director Stephen (a delightful ‘Doubt’ Senthil), a halwa shop assistant. The lines are witty and sparkling and probably the best part of the film. The characters are quirky and colourful, the actors fitting in suitably. Like Kumaravel’s well-played, Manja, the producer’s man.
Manja caters to the needs of Chandran and his team and is the turning point in the plot. Sams and Narayanan as Chandran’s assistants and Saravanan as the fake swamy enamoured of the tinsel world (his mimicry -act is fantastic) pitch in their bit.
But the revelation is Nandita, in a role vastly different from the traditional staid ones she played in her earlier films. As Maha, the producer’s daughter thrust on Chandran to essay Poonkody the heroine of the film, Nandita springs a surprise. Childish and capricious, giving the director and the team a tough time during rehearsals, she is a delight to watch. It’s quite a contrast where Chandran and team who had visualised a scene in a particular way (a film-within-a film effect here), squirm in frustration and embarrassment on Maha’s take on her character at the rehearsals.
The character of Uma (Rakshita fits in well) Chandran’s neighbour and friend, is smoothly integrated in the plot. The director takes a dig at fake activists who try to disrupt a film’s shoot or release, without even knowing about the content — ‘there are so many larger isssues to be fought over’ muses a character. M S Bhaskar as the film’s producer gets his space where he opens his heart out to the team, when his film’s shoot is stalled thanks to an unfortunate incident. The twist in the tale is appreciable.
On the flip side the gags at times seem to be forced, with some falling flat. The film should have been shorter with a crispier narrative but with more positives than negatives, Uppu Karuvadu is certainly a fun film!