Maybe it was the hype.
Maybe it was the 20-crore(?) budget.
Maybe it was the expectation generated by numerous favourable reviews by blogger friends. (I am yet to read an unfavourable one.)
Maybe it was the trailers that crossed my social networking paths months prior to release.
Maybe it was the fact that as we entered the theatre, KPAC Lalitha’s voice over was already explaining the arrival of the Portuguese to the shores of Kerala and other incidents relevant to the movie. After all, first impressions should not be formed while bending double on full stomach and rushing to seats, for a 9PM show.
The beginning of Urumi was too quick for my likes. Within minutes of my sitting down, Prithviraj and Prabhu Deva were hurled into the sixteenth century. The story slipped down the stairs and splashed into the ancient ambala kulam. Given that the past itself takes about two hours (plus), I presume it would not have been possible to provide more fluff on the ‘current’ events.
Vidya Balan is a brilliant (though under-rated) actress (actor?), very capable of not over-doing her role. But the Devi appearance (and dance!) did not seem to add anything to the story. I looked around for Tabu in every frame after her cameo – I could not believe her performance was restricted to half a scene. The high-profile cast, no doubt, explains a large part of the 20-crore.
Were not some of the dresses, dances and dialogs borrowed from this century?
Most of the actors did justice to their characters and did what was expected of them. Prithviraj should (in the best interests of the audience) shed a few kilos especially in such (shirtless) roles. His body language reeked of arrogance instead of the tough, proud, dignified look that we are familiar with in other historical movies based on vengeance, patriotism and so forth. Someone could have advised him to tone down his attitude a bit – at least to endear him to the viewers. His talent is undisputed – no one else in the industry today can portray the ‘angry young man’ better than him. Wonder if it was his recent superstardom or the movie’s budget that ruined it.
An acquaintance summed the movie up before I went to watch: “16th century story and all that, with sufficient skin show for the 21st century audience.”
What the movie did, however, was to add faces, colours and events to the sentence we learned by rote in childhood:
Vasco da Gama landed at Kappad beach near Calicut in 1498.
I don’t think the movie was worth losing my sleep on.
But then, it may have also been the small, old theatre, quite unequipped to handle modern-day big-budget movies of cinematographic excellence.
Or it may have been plain, old-fashioned, intolerant me.