Udhaya, Mar 28th, 2004


Like Virumbukiren, Udhaya is another movie that has had a long and torturous journey from production to release. Launched way back when Vijay and Simran were a hot pair, the movie was stalled for various reasons. Its director Azhagamperumal has since made two reasonably successful movies Dum Dum Dum and Joot and its producer ‘Pyramid’ Natrajan recently had to go to court to get a married Simran to finish up the song sequences required to complete and release the film. Not surprisingly, the movie has aged considerably and has continuity issues but unfortunately, those are not its only problems.

Udhayakumar(Vijay), who has rejected a scholarship at the prestigious Princeton University in order to serve his country, joins as a substitute teacher at the same college he studied in. In one of his experiments, he successfully generates a controlled nuclear explosion that he believes will be the source of power in the future. He falls for Basandhi(Simran), one of his students but soon comes to know that she is engaged to be married. Dejected, he moves to Chennai and finds a job as a reporter at a magazine. He is recruited by a group with a charismatic leader(Nasser) who promises social change. Towards that end, the group convinces him to build a bomb that can be safely stored and moved in any form.

One of the positive aspects of the movie is that the way the story proceeds belies our initial expectations. With Simran, who is unhappy with her engagement, her aunt who wants to make Simran her daughter-in-law in order to get her hands on her wealth and Vijay, who falls for Simran without knowing that she is already engaged, the movie sets us up for a love story along the lines of Kaadhal Mannan or Vijay’s own Vaseegara. But the movie switches tracks completely, catching us a little offguard. As it brings in the revolutionary group, it becomes more an action movie than a romance.

But it is the same switch in tracks that proves to be the movie’s undoing too. As long as the movie revolves around romance and life in the village, it proceeds smoothly even if predictably. But whenever the movie jumps to science, it is on terribly shaky grounds. Right from Vijay’s experiment in the lab(he picks up a small globe out of a beaker, watches it explode along the lines of a Diwali cracker and jumps in joy on having generated a controlled nuclear explosion that is supposed to be tomorrow’s source of power!), the movie’s take on anything scientific is laughably amateurish and silly.

Vijay appears rather uninterested most of the time and looks like he himself doesn’t believe that he is a scientist. He must be really glad Gilli came along soon after to erase this movie from people’s minds. Simran too reflects VIjay’s disinterest and looks particularly old and washed out in the two recently filmed song sequences. Nasser does a neat job as the group leader. Vivek is wasted in a role that has little scope for comedy. None of Rehman’s tunes are real catchy.