Uthara Chemmeen Malayalam Movie Review
'Uthara Chemmeen' starts off where 'Chemmeen' ends, and Karuthamma's son Azhagan (Beyon Gemini) grows up into a young man, who falls in love with Neelipennu (Ansiba), much against the wishes of the girl's parents. Brought up by Panchami (Geetha Vijayan), Azhagan also has a difficult choice to make when a surprise visitor lands on the shore with an offer that he would find difficult to refuse.
I am aghast at the nerve to name the film as 'Uthara Chemmeen' suggesting probably that it's a sequel to the much adored classic. With quite recognizable characters from the original film making an appearance in 'Uthara Chemmeen', it does look like the film has an intention to term itself as an epilogue of sorts, if not anything else.
Where it fails miserably though, is when it does not succeed to regain even a jot of the warmth and tenderness that had made the Ramu Kariat film one of the greatest films that have ever been made in Malayalam. With characters like Karuthamma, Palani and Pareekkutty etched in the viewer hearts, it becomes a colossal task for any film maker to conceive a sequel; something which Benny Ashamsa has aspired to do but with appalling consequences.
Panchami and Azhagan are told to be on the run, ever since the man's love tale took a wrong turn. They seek asylum on a new shore, where Azhakan buys a canoe and emerges as a skilled fisherman. Sounds good, but it's here that we realize that it's all that 'Uthara Chemmeen' has on offer, when it comes to the story that it wants to portray on screen.
So it goes from this point to that, and then back and forth, until it reaches a shaky climax that ends it all with one tight slap that is delivered across a face that has apparently been demanding it for long. Which makes us wonder why it wasn't done a couple of hours earlier, which could have saved both us and the film makers a whole lot of effort and time.
Technically, the film is a disaster, in that almost all the action sequences are a pain on the eyes. Badly choreographed and shakily shot, it turns out to be a pain to sit through the action, while the art direction is no better, and puts on show some horrendous designs that would give some films in the eighties that were shot on a shoe string budget, a run for their money.
This is not the first time that one sees Beyon in a circumstance as this, and it is sad that this talented youngster lands himself in an embarrassing situation as in 'Uthara Chemmeen'. He does give it his best shot, and remains as convincing as he can. Ansiba however, is unable to carry forward the impressive performance that had made people sit up and take notice of her in 'Drishyam', and looks wholly lost.
There is some terribly bad acting as well, from actors who are mostly unfamiliar faces who don the roles of the two main villains in the film. With names as Molly Kannamaly and Ponnamma Babu hollering at the top of their voices, dissonance and discord reigns.
Plagued by a ridiculous script, the narrative chaos in 'Uthara Chemmeen' is revolting, to say the least. I would rather pretend that this never happened. Some sequels (or those that sound and feel like it) aren't meant to be.