Udanpirappe movie review Jyotika’s movie isn’t just a tear-shooter
Udanpirappe means brother in Tamil. The title and trailer for the movie Jyotika explained the central theme of the film, annan-thangachi pasam or brother-sister affection, and Udanpirappe lives up to expectations. It is a rural drama, with an oor thiruvila (village festival) to start which illustrates the bond between brothers and sisters.
As the relationship drama opens, we meet the brother and sister who haven’t spoken to each other for many years. Audiences have seen enough of such Tamil films to make a knowing guess that by the end of the film, the siblings will resolve the conflict and live happily ever after.
Udanpirappe, however, has more to offer than just a generous dose of melodrama using very familiar tropes.
Maathangi (Jyotika), is the darling of the village. Coming from an influential family, she uses her free time to help the villagers and improve their lives. His older brother Vairav (Mr. Sasikumar) is a self-proclaimed leader, godfather-like figure, who fights corporate greed and government mismanagement for the betterment of the weak and poor in his village. He believes he can solve any problem with his physical prowess and combat skills. Maathangi’s husband, Vaathi (played by Samuthirakani), however, strongly believes in law and non-violence.
The clash between Vairav and Vaathi’s beliefs strains their relationship while exacting a heavy toll on Maathangi. The way director Era. Saravanan staged this refreshing relationship drama. Unlike previous films from the same gene pool, the bond between a sister and a brother is not tested by components like greed, revenge, or pride. This is not the story of a brother who devotes his life to the happiness of his sister, only for her to marry her to an evil man and suffer all his life.
There are no monsters in the family. Vaathi and Vairav are both good-natured, progressive and decent people. The conflict between them stems from ideological differences. It is a battle between good people as they try to outdo themselves in an effort to establish a righteous way of living a dignified life in a very complicated and morally decaying world.
Saravanan also quietly shatters traditional gender stereotypes even if it is not obvious on the surface. He always puts the final decision in the hands of Maathangi in matters of life and death. On more than one occasion, she decides who lives and who dies. While Maathangi and his sister-in-law agree with Vairav’s violent methods of bringing peace to the village, it is Vaathi who has a problem with this. Traditionally in our films, it is the women who are suspicious of being in a relationship with an abusive man and end it for this reason (Viswasam, Veeram to name a few).
Rape victims in Udanpirappe are not burdened with the guilt and shame of the crime they have suffered. It is the rapist who bears the memory of the crimes, while those close to him bear the weight of guilt and shame.
For audiences who aren’t too keen to analyze Udanpirappe’s genre dynamics, the film may simply click like family drama for its strong emotional rhythms and contemporary, sassy social messages.
Jyotika, Samuthirakani and Sasikumar fit effortlessly into their respective roles and deliver a realized performance.