If you have ever felt that “the boy meets girl on a trip” trope that you see in romantic entertainers is a safe bet idea that anyone can pull off, Ullasam will make you realize that even that needs the help of charismatic performance and solid writing. Soaked in cliches and cringe-worthy dialogues, Ullasam is a really difficult movie to sit through. Director Jeevan Jojo and writer Praveen Balkrishnan are trying to recreate the scenes we have seen in many other films, and the output looks extremely lame.
Harry Menon, who seems like a guy who is yet to figure out what he wants to do in life, meets this girl on a train journey in Ootty. Their journey gets an interesting tweak when the girl, who said her name was Nayanthara, decides to help a pregnant lady she saw on the way. The duo misses the train due to that incident and what we see is their efforts to reach the railway station and what all happens during the course of that.
We have a skating sequence at the beginning of the film which has no major connection with the plot rather than establishing the hero as a winner. Then the movie goes to this second introduction for the hero, where he catches a moving train. The gimmicks one can see in this whole sequence expose the idea-scarcity of the script. Every other turn in the plot feels forceful. Occasionally these grown-child characters start talking philosophical stuff, and the only thing I could do was face-palm.
Jeevan Jojo doesn’t want the movie to look coherent. When you see characters in an Imtiaz Ali movie, even though they are doing these flashy adventures, the narrative always manages to give us a deeper view of the emotional state of those characters. Here, the emphasis is only on the showy part. An introduction scene, a girl and a boy staying in the same room for one day, a dance number, a fight sequence, a couple creating a scene at a wedding, some live-your-life motivational sentimental dialogues, etc., are the elements we see in these kinds of films. In Ullasam, the makers have placed those elements in the cheesiest way possible.
Shane Nigam’s Ranbir Kapoor act falls flat in most places, and there were discrete bits that showed he could do better with good content. Pavithra Lakshmi, who reminded me of Samyuktha Menon, looks pretty for sure, but the dubbing with those hefty dialogues ruins it completely. Basil Joseph, Amika, Aju Varghese, and Deepak Parambol are the other major names in the cast, and they were all just forgettable.
Writing is the foundation of any movie, and Ullasam definitely struggles in that department. The assembled feel of the script that borrows the peripheral beauty of hit films in a similar space just can’t hold your interest. Shane Nigam is an immensely talented guy, and I hope he won’t ruin his career by trying to be a typical “hero” material.
The assembled feel of the script that borrows the peripheral beauty of hit films in a similar space just can't hold your interest.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended