Uriyadi: a chaotic Onam wedding

This week’s choice was between a mega budget, megastar-led masala and a low-budget comedy. The choice was easier than expected. The trailer of Big Brother gave off a stale vibe. And it did turn out to be a run-off-the-mill Lalettan film. That made Uriyadi the obvious and the only choice, even though it came with a warning—from the director of Adi Kapyare Koottamani.

The story is set in Thiruvananthapuram and starts with a chase scene through the streets and narrow alleys of the capital city. It culminated with a horse-back policeman cornering the culprit. Be aware that this scene has no bearing to what happens later. The major events unfold at the police housing colony. Raveendran (Siddique), a police officer, is making preparations for his daughter’s wedding and has bought a lot of gold jewellery for it. Mathai (Baiju) is a policeman under suspension, who is always drunk. His wife, played by Arya, is also a constable in the force. Padmanabhan Pilla aka Pappettan (Sreenivasan), an ASI, will retire in a couple of months, is respected by everyone including senior officers in the force. Sreejith Ravi plays the gunman of state home minister (Prem Kumar), who takes pride in his service revolver and his ever-growing family. Panchavarnnaksharan Pilla (Indrans) is the secretary of the housing colony association who is busy organising the Onam celebrations at the apartment complex.

Ambili (Aju Varghese) and his assistant Rajanikanth (Bijukuttan) arrive at the colony to do light and sound works. They get on the wrong side of Mathai who turns Rajanikanth into his punching bag. As the day progresses, the colony falls into celebratory mode. Men are having drinks and the women are gathered at Raveendran’s home to inspect and admire the wedding jewellery. The celebrations and cultural events continue late into the night. But festivities turn sour when Raveendran’s house is robbed. The family is distraught and the entire residents gear up to find the culprit but fails. While they desperately try to keep the incident under wraps, the news leaks through the Facebook Live video aired by Panchavarnaksharan Pilla’s son. With the media on their backs and pressure from the minister, the policemen resort to some drastic moves that lead to further complications.

Watching a film with low expectations can be beneficial at times. Uriyadi is primarily a gag reel. Most of the scenes are there for no other reason than making the audience laugh. And it works. The best among the lot is Baiju whose mannerisms and one-liners are spot on. The film continues the comedic vibe up till the climax where the film takes a serious turn, maybe a little too serious. To be honest, it would have been a better film if the makers had continued the comic vein till the end. The message bit was well-intentioned but felt forced.

Varghese has a good sense of comic timing, though it was all spent in crafting humorous scenes. He had a choice of experienced and talented actors who all did justice to their roles. Humanising the police force is the highlight of this film. Showing them in their home environment where they are just people with ordinary lives. The camera work is decent and the background score is akin to the style in comedy skits, but it works.

Uriyadi is for those who expect to pass some time and have a few decent laughs in the mix. The jokes, though low-brow at times, are not crass and can be enjoyed by a family audience.

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