‘Uppena’ today hit the cinemas amid high expectations. The kind of hype that Mythri Movie Makers gave for the film is rare for a film starring newcomers as the lead pair. Does the film, made on a decent amount of budget, live up to the expectations? Here we tell you in this review.
Aasi (debutant Vaisshnav Tej) is the son of a poor fisherman (Sai Chan). He has been struck by the beauty of Babamma (debutante Krithi Shetty), the college-going daughter of Rayanna (Vijay Sethupathi), the feudal lord of the village. Expectedly, Babamma starts having feelings for Aasi, who provokes the ire of her father. What consequences do the couple face? Can their love affair lead to eternal joy?
Since Vaisshnav Tej is a debutant Mega hero, everyone’s eyes in the film industry have been on him. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that many had thought before the film’s release that he can give many young heroes a run for their money if his acting is good. As a fisherman who is smitten by the heroine, he delivers a strong performance. His acting in the serious scenes is earnest. His dialogue-delivery has scope for improvement, though.
Krithi Shetty, with her tender looks, sinks into the role. She is a nice find and may well go a long way with the right scripts powering her career. And Vijay Sethupathi, with his nuanced acting, can’t be missed. After ‘Master’, he has delivered yet another winsome performance. One, however, misses his voice in the film. Sai Chand is able, so also the newcomer who has played the male lead’s all-weather friend.
Devi Sri Prasad’s songs make the proceedings soulful. Be it ‘Nee Kannu Neeli Samudram’ or ‘Ranguladdukunna’, they enliven the romantic portions in the first half. However, the background music doesn’t have a repeat value. Shamdat Sainuddin’s cinematography is enticing, capturing the sea town and its raw beauty evocatively.
At 145 minutes, the film’s run-time is apt.
Megastar Chiranjeevi had revealed that there is a ‘danger point’ (sic) in ‘Uppena’ and that it will be special. Surely, it is the USP of the film. The idea is executed in an engaging fashion. Credit goes to new director Buchi Babu Sana for telling it as it is.
The first half is dedicated to building up the love story. The film is set in 2002 and the production design is mostly commendable in bringing the period to the fore. Vijay Sethupathi, whose character is the enfant terrible of the story, goes missing in the first half for a good par.t
As the interval arrives, the audience gets a sense of the direction in which the story will move. The director should have infused more drama into the portions until the pre-climax phase, especially through some inventive father-son scenes.
The love scenes are helped by the performances and some sweet moments here and there. But the violent father’s character becomes a cardboard face and that’s an issue. The element of displacement is a tried and tested idea. The film should have shown the aspect in a better way.
The climax, the most-awaited and anticipated aspect of the movie, is the saving grace. While it could have been better, it is still touching by the standards of today’s love stories.
The screenplay did ask for more. Buchi Babu co-writes the dialogues, which are mostly ordinary.
If you haven’t heard of the ‘danger point’ in the film, you will find ‘Uppena’ a bit shocking. The film has the potential to impress a section of the audience. But don’t expect too much, for there are a number of boring stretches.