Director M Padmakumar’s much awaited romantic drama “Orissa” is sadly an overdose of drama. In an attempt to narrate an eternal love story on screen, they failed to root the characters into the plot. The most important thing in a love story is indeed the chemistry between the pair and also the depth of the romance. The Unni Mukundan starrer just can’t make us feel for the lead pair for all their sufferings.
The plot here revolves around the main protagonists Christhu Das and Suneyi. The story is set in the district Ganjam of Orissa in the 1980’s. Suneyi is a young girl who is about to turn 18 in a few weeks time and as per the custom of the village she will be turned into a Devdasi. Her mother tries to prevent this, but sadly she couldn’t hold in front of the feudal power. With the help of some activists, Suneyi is offered police protection and thus comes the character Christu Das in to her life. The romance between the two and the hardships they had to face is what mainly Orissa all about.
In a flashback narrative, the makers have tried to give it an intense feel to the movie. But sadly the heavy dialogs written by the writer sounded too dramatic when it came out from an actor who hasn’t really scored with his acting skills. The movie vaguely concentrates on the degraded culture that created Devdasis in those times. The attempt to include so many things in a script resulted in the lack of romance in the film. Also the kind of difficulties they faced wasn’t really enough to make the love story an eternal one. The climax sequence would have been a touching one if they had made the pre marriage love story an unforgettable one.
On screen, Unni Mukundan can’t really live up to the challenge offered. The challenging part was the portrayal of the old age and apart from the convincing body language, the dialog delivery was highly robotic. Sanika is convincing as the golden girl Suneyi. Kaniha gets a chance to showcase her talent, especially in dancing. Tanushree Ghosh kind of over acts as the activist Meera Bhai. Nigel Akkara is a convincing antagonist. Vijayan V Nair, Sawsika, Sudheesh, Shari and many others are there who have done a good job.
In the technical side, Padmakumar can’t really conceive the plot in a fresh way. He has followed that typical style of his which we have seen in his recent flicks like Thiruvambady Thampaan and Ithu Paathiramanal. G S Anil’s script isnt that charming. The attempt was to make it slightly poetic but the result was too dramatic. Cinematography is quite pleasing especially in those outdoor shots and song sequences. The art direction also kept great standard. The makeup section showed some hiccups. The aged look of Unni Mukundan was really good, but it was really a fancy dress when it came to Sanika. Edits are good and the music of Ratheesh Vega was also quiet engaging.
Overall, Orissa just cant really communicate to its audience. A better performance from the lead pair and a more focused screen play would have made things much better. Acknowledging some technical pluses, I am giving this movie a 2.5/5. Chances of having tears in your eyes is there for sure, but not because of the eternal love story.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended