In spite of its tendency to lapse into over-sentimentality, Uru is a fine attempt to serve up a heartwarming homily on the wages of sudden insolvency.
Set in a tranquil coastal village in Kerala where the money comes in from the Gulf, Uru constructs its parabolic drama around the craft of ship-building. Many such intricate ships, or dhows, are built in the coastal region by generations of artisans. These are funded by affluent Arabs who provide financial sustenance to the rapidly evaporating breed of shipbuilders.
Uru Review: Storyline
Rasheed (a starkly moving performance by Manoj KU) and his family of devoted wives, sons, and daughters have attained a certain amount of affluence through the dhow construction business in their village.
Things suddenly begin to go wrong for Rasheed—as they are wont to in real life—when Rasheed’s benefactor from the Gulf disappears on him. While writer-director E.M. Ashraf sees this calamitous development as an occasion for tearful melodrama, the actors, especially Manoj KU and the veteran Mummokoya, the latter playing the head carpenter on the abandoned ship, struggle hard to add an added layer to what is primarily a straightforward fate-fueled drama about the reversal of fortunes.
Uru Review: Final Verdict
Many of the incidents in the plot induce an exacerbated emotional implausibility in what could have otherwise been a profound study of human failings. The director evidently has no access to the inner workings of the emotions that underline the drama. He skims the surface, does so neatly, and relies on the actors to bring a modicum of heft into the otherwise shallow storytelling.
Some of the characters, for example, Rasheed’s son Fathah, played by Arjun S. Kulathingal, needed to be given more space to grow. Fathah is an interesting hyphen between a generation of traditional craftsmen and those who do not feel happy pursuing their parents’ passion for traditional vocations.
Fathah wants to be a rock musician, much to his father’s anger and embarrassment. This gives the script an excuse for some songs that do not add anything to the narration.
The hurried happy ending is so out of sync with the rest of the film film it feels like an imposed compromise. For all its flaws, Uru is recommended for its very obvious reverence for tradition. It is way too sketchy and superficial to be a memorable study of sinking fortunes. But it isn't to be dismissed as being of no consequence.
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