After a charming debut with C/O Kancherapalem, Venkatesh Maha has generated a renewed interest in Telugu audiences for simple stories based in rustic milieu. With tangible characters and their bona fide ambivalence’s, the movie aroused a strong appetite for more sense and less fury. ‘Uma Maheshwara Ugra Roopasya’, though a remake, navigates a similar terrain and continues the magical tapestry of random events triggering life-altering ruminations. And in the bargain, drenching us again in mustard colors and their never-fading aromas.
Spoiler alert, as I delve into story details. There are bright offerings embellished all through but some parts of the story needed to be more in-line. Father (Manohar Rao) and Son (Mahesh) relationship, looks like a normal one at the outset, but there is some past wound lurking underneath which we are never privy too. Manohar Rao suddenly turns philosophical (screenplay devoted ample footage to establish this), and he does offer real pearls of wisdom at crucial junctures to guide his son and also help him get out of the woods, in a way. What transpired the sudden transformation, and did the relationship always been this way, we never know. By not disclosing all the details, sometimes adds to the mystery but when it impacts the story immensely, there is a need to clear the cobwebs or unearth a hitherto unknown dimension to get to the essence of that relationship.
Another aspect that I felt would keep the overall flow of the movie honest to it’s premise, is the nature of revenge as explored here. Revenge as in conventional story-lines, involves a evil-minded entity who bears complete responsibility for the carnage that follows his unwarranted excesses. And a messiah in the form of traditional hero, will take up the cudgels either for himself or for his poor brethren. Here, the villain, Joginath could have continued to stay abroad maybe imprisoned as he attacked his supervisor there. Mahesh is left licking his wounds and the point of not wearing his slippers offers a constant reminder of the urgency and self-respect at stake. But with no obvious signs of Joginath turning up any soon, for him to settle his scores, what should he do. Beat a retreat and move on or just live in pain and wait.
Revenge always is a consequence of gross injustice meted out that needs to be righted. And revenge necessitates a deep transformation of the main protagonist and even before the final showdown, has already helped the hero unshackle his personality for his own good. So for Mahesh, even though the villain, Joginath might not show up, which is out of his control but a local incident involving maybe Swati, another rowdy-sheeter turns up in the town and offers a redeeming moment. Mahesh takes up the cause, with a more direct action this time, not to avenge but to showcase his new found confidence and protest, that ‘might’ has to be exercised to fight evil. Mahesh is a bigger hero now, as he’s fighting not for his hurt pride but for a girl, who’s in real distress. And odds being stacked against him, will still end up triumphant. The town will now offer him slippers to his weather-beaten feet, rather than he asking the shopkeeper for his 9-inch slippers. A showdown similar to this, bringing about a more comprehensive closure to his revenge and redemption. Mahesh is not a newly groomed ‘dada’ but asking for a ‘Ugra Roopasya’ to show-up when in need, in all decent living individuals, and it is their silence that can breed Joginath’s abound.
All the actors reveled in their roles but a big shout out to Suhas. Suhas as his namesake in the movie, acted minimally and provided a masterclass on how to inhabit a character and stand out in spite of not having a pronounced role. A welcome addition and contrast to the hyped-up portrayals that has mostly been the norm in Telugu movies. Venkatesh Maha has followed-up his monumental entry into tollywood with another of slice of life drama staying true to his craft and sticking to his strengths.