Text by Anusmita Dutta
There are some movies that stay in your heart and mind long after you watch them. Manu Ashokan directed Malayalam movie ‘Uyare’ (meaning ‘fly high) is one such movie. The movie is a tale of a brave acid attack survivor ‘Pallavi’.
I like the subtle ways Malayalam movies handle the most serious subjects. In recent times, a movie on an acid attack survivor was made in the Hindi movie industry too which shows there is concern around this issue. This is Manu’s directional debut and the movie was a critical and commercial success in 2019.
In India, around 300 acid attacks are reported every year. Losing out on their appearance, the permanent emotional and physical scars are not the only casualties the victims face. Most often than not, the victims of acid attacks also have to give up on their dream careers.
The movie opens up with scenes depicting the protagonist Pallavi Raveendran‘s life with her widowed father and her possessive and not-so-successful boyfriend. In contrast, Pallavi is a bright and hard-working girl with high ambitions. She shows her caliber when she makes it to an aviation academy to study to become a pilot. Her boyfriend, however, is not happy as he wants her to marry him and join him abroad where he had got a job. For some time, much against her father’s wish she tries to make a go of her relationship but her boyfriend’s increasing possessiveness and insecurities put a brake on their relationship. One day after an altercation, the disgruntled lover throws acid on her face. The vagaries of the human mind will shake the viewer as no one could think that he who claimed to love her madly, played ably by actor Asif Ali, could do something so vile.
Pallavi’s life and dreams change. Apart from her looks, she loses the strength of her vision in one eye and her flying license gets canceled. Pallavi accepts her situation with quiet fortitude. She finds support in a rich scion of an aviation giant, played by Tovino Thomas. Tovino gives Pallavi the chance to become a flight purser. He convinces her that this way she would still be able to realize her dream of flying in the air.
The girl who ardently wished to become a pilot and was so close to her dream now takes on a different role. Is compromise a bad word? Not always. The scene where she puts on make-up to get ready for her first flight as an air hostess gives out a profound message on how you must be open to life. This is one scene that manages to hold your heart in such a way that you remember the entire message given in the movie through that scene, to be positive and embrace life.
Actress Parvathy plays Pallavi and delivers a subtle and intense performance without going overboard. There is no melodrama even in the court scene when she sees her ex-lover; her expressions make the scene memorable. Another scene that stands out is when Pallavi’s ex-lover’s father comes to meet her father to plead to take back the case against his son. Without saying anything, Pallavi simply removes her veil to expose her scarred face, which is enough for the miscreant’s father to leave. The scene is a reminder that most human beings are inherently selfish.
The character‘s nature is as such controlled and mellowed both before and after the incident. Actress Parvathy’s personality seems tailor-made for the role. The character does get a chance to fulfill her long-cherished dream of flying an aircraft but how?
Do watch the movie to know it. Moreover, the movie is sure to raise questions in the minds of every sensitive viewer. It will make you wonder that if in India, the minimum punishment for anyone guilty of this heinous crime is 10 years, where is the lacuna that makes this crime so rampant? Why is acid so freely available in the first place? If art imitates life, as a society lets work together to prevent any more Pallavis in real life to go through the trauma she did in the movie.
The debutant director Manu Ashokan has done a fine job of the direction. The music composed by Gopi Sundar offers few soothing melodies, which goes well with the sober mood of the movie.
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About our writing program student:
Anusmita Dutta works as the Content Head in GetAConnect.in. She started her career in the e-learning industry but moved on to writing in the print and the web medium as well. She is also a Spoken English Tutor and a children’s storyteller.
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