Poster of Tamil film Uriyadi, 2016
|Directed by||Vijay Kumar|
|Produced by||Vijay Kumar|
|Written by||Vijay Kumar|
|Starring||Vijay Kumar |
|Narrated by||Arvind Swamy|
|Music by||Masala Coffee (Songs) |
Vijay Kumar (BGM)
|Edited by||Abhinav Sunder Nayak|
Uriyadi (English: Breaking pot) is a 2016 Indian Tamil-language political action thriller film written, directed and produced by Vijay Kumar starring Vijay Kumar himself in the lead role, along with Mime Gopi and Citizen Sivakumar. It was released in cinemas on 27 May 2016, to high critical acclaim, with critics providing phenomenal reviews praising its screenplay, direction, originality and realism. It is considered as an unmissable masterpiece and was lauded as one of the best political thrillers in Tamil cinema. Since its release, Uriyadi has enjoyed a fervent and passionate fan following and Vijay Kumar is held in high regard. A sequel titled Uriyadi 2 is in the works.
The story revolves around three sets of characters: 1) Four carefree and adventurous friends who are college students in their final year of study, including Lenin Vijay, Suresh, Akil and Karthi. 2) A politician named Kumar who is eager to begin his own caste-based political party. 3) Ramanathan, a part-time engineering student.
The movie opens by showcasing the daily lives of the four student friends. The students soon meet the politician, Kumar, who also runs a roadside dhaba frequently visited by the students.
In many subsequent scenes, the students get into trouble with the local residents. In one such instance in the dhaba, the politician comes to their rescue and hence they get in touch with each other. Later that night, however, one of the students is attacked by some of the local residents. The other students become furious, chase the locals, and a fight ensues. Meanwhile, Vijay’s ex-girlfriend is harassed by Ramanathan. This is witnessed by Karthi, who confronts and physically assaults Ramanathan and then narrates these events to Vijay. Later, to their surprise, Ramanathan’s friends wait in the dhaba to ambush Karthi. Ramanathan, who has little luck with love, yearns for one college student who seems to be the ex-girlfriend of Lenin Vijay. One night, the four friends get very drunk and accidentally annoy some of the caste fanatics. Kumar, along with his uncle, happens to see this and contemplates how to take advantage of this tense situation. While all this is happening, the politician drafts plans to initiate a caste-based political party about which he has been dreaming. The plot reaches a climax when all three sets of characters meet and each of them discovers their mutual interconnections.
Vijay Kumar began writing the script for Uriyadi in early 2011 after he moved to the United States. It was initially titled Vidiyum Varai VinmeengalaaVom (V4). The script writing took well over a year, with Vijay Kumar sketching more than 2500 shots for its story board. As a debutante, he wanted to ensure that everything goes per plan once the film goes on floors and hence created story boards to make production easier. Once the script was ready, and he felt he had a firm grip on it, he moved back to India and started his production house Souvenir Productions in April 2013. When the casting call was sent out, priority was given to those who had been struggling for long to enter into the film industry. So, a three-month acting workshop was conducted and they were hired. Except for a handful of technicians and actors, the entire crew and cast were debutants. Once the pre-production was over, the film went on floors in July 2013 and the shooting was completed in October 2013. About 90% of the film was shot in the outskirts of Chennai, in and around places like Padappai and Oragadam. Talking about the challenges he faced while shooting for the film, Vijay Kumar says since the film is set in the 90's, removing objects relevant to the present time was the toughest challenge of all, mainly because it was mostly shot on the highways.
The post production work on Uriyadi was done by August 2014 and it was sent to the CBFC for censor screening. After making the suggested cuts, the film was certified 'A'. Vijay Kumar then started approaching distributors to release the movie. In 2015, director Nalan Kumarasamy came in as a co-producer to release the movie since he had an idea of launching his own production house. The movie was released in cinemas on 27 May 2016. After repeated requests from fans to release the uncut version of the film, Vijay Kumar revealed in an interview with Indiaglitz that the entire footage of Uriyadi was lost during the super storm that flooded his first floor office in Jafferkhanpet on December 1, 2015 and that the edited and censored version survived because it was at a DI studio at the time.
Portrayal of violence
Many reviews of the film highlight the intense violence portrayed throughout. In an interview with the Business Standard, Vijay Kumar relates how actors were actually injured during filming: "I was supposed to hit someone in the back with a rod, and somehow the blow landed on his head, much to my surprise. Although we used a fiber rod, he suffered severe injury." A reviewer writing in Indiaglitz cautions, "even after being warned the violence in the film is excessive and causes the viewers to flinch and squirm." A critic writing in The Hindu noted the level of realism in the fight scenes, "here you see the chaos, you see people scrambling, slipping, falling — not people executing perfect punches.". The Times of India wrote "High on blood, violence and realism this film will definitely shock and appal you. The realistic fights were more brutal than entertaining".
Some critics note the film's commentary on caste-based political parties. Writing in The Hindu, Baradwaj Rangan notes that director Vijay Kumar illustrates "how these small outfits form a party whose mission is (apparently) to represent that particular caste, get votes from people belonging to that caste, get elected to power, and trade this power for favours from bigger parties." A reviewer in Ananda Vikatan, called Uriyadi a whiplash against caste. Indiaglitz was all praise for the way Vijay Kumar handled caste based politics in the movie, "At such a young age it is surprising that this man has a deep understanding and conviction about the caste based politics and how the self proclaimed champions of a caste betray their own people for selfish motives". Puthiya Thalaimurai noted that Uriyadi shed light on the selfish political ambitions of caste outfit leaders. Remarkably, after a screening of Uriyadi at the Institute of Politics of University of Wrocław, Poland, its official representatives issued a statement saying it educated their students on Indian caste system and its political consequences and that it enabled them to observe various ways of creating political influence. TNMEKS noted that Uriyadi unmasked the cruel nature of caste and shed light on the way caste outfits plot extensively to transform themselves into political parties.
Uriyadi received highly positive reviews. The Times of India gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, stating that Uriyadi "displays a daring that belies its small-budget, first-film credentials, and stakes its claim in the list of the best films of the year." Baradwaj Rangan, an Indian film critic and writer for The Hindu, stated that "Vijay Kumar doesn't need a condescending pat on the back. He's a solid filmmaker, and he's made a gritty little film." Filmibeat rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, claiming that it "is one of the boldest attempts that exposes the devious nature of politicians who use caste to their advantage. And yes, this one is not for the faint-hearted." Sify's verdict is that the film is a "Violent revenge thriller", and gave the film 4 out of 5 stars; the reviewer also praised the realistic approach, Paul Livingstone’s cinematography, and the razor-sharp editing by Abhinav Sundar Nayak.
Indiaglitz also reviewed the film, describing it as a "gripping saga of extreme violence". A reviewer from Moviebuff rated the film 4/5, calling it as "the rise of Independent Cinema." A reviewer from Behindwoods noted that, "Cleverly screwing all the nuts and bolts at the right places, the movie encompasses all the elements that are a requisite for a gritty watch". He also noted that, "The theatre showing of Uriyadi was about to be cancelled in Aurora, Mumbai, but the movie-watching audience bought out the theatre so that the show did not get cancelled." In contrast, Gautaman Bhaskaran from Hindustan Times rated it 1/5, calling it as "A socially debase story on caste-based politics." However Uriyadi was listed in the Hindustan Times’ top 10 southern films of 2016 and praised the director Vijay Kumar for his solid directorial debut. The daily newspaper Dinamalar reviewed Uriyadi and wrote it has a very gripping storyline and screenplay, that is entirely new to Tamil cinema.
Ananda Vikatan reviewed Uriyadi, calling it a trendsetter for the current film industry and saying it is executed in a very appreciable way. In another review of theirs, a reviewer wrote that Uriyadi is handled very different from other caste based movies and the climax is unique and interesting. Vijay Kumar was appreciated for handling direction, production, acting and background score all by himself and executing them neatly.
The director of the movie, Vijay Kumar also had a session with BOFTA direction students on how he went about doing his independent film and succeeded. Talking about the movie, after the interaction session, Director Cheran said he looks at Uriyadi as the contribution of Tamil cinema toward positive societal change and lauded Vijay Kumar for taking up such a powerful issue in his debut venture. Director Ram noted that Uriyadi is an original film, and appreciated the courage of the director for treating a sensitive issue as the core content of the movie. Also several other directors appreciated Uriyadi and Vijay Kumar during the meeting.
Awards and nominations
- Most watched film of a Debutant Filmmaker - Uriyadi
- Best Production - Uriyadi
- Best Director - Vijay Kumar
- Best Debut Director - Vijay Kumar
- Special Award for Story, Screenplay and Direction - Vijay Kumar
- Special Award for Production - Vijay Kumar
Top ten lists
Uriyadi appeared in the top ten/best films of the year 2016 lists of many noted publications and news outlets.
India Today mentioned that Uriyadi received unanimous positive reviews from critics and fans and greatly appreciated for its raw and gritty concept and listed it in the "Top 10 South Indian films of 2016".
|Uriyadi (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - EP|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||28 January 2016|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Label||Sony Music South|
The soundtrack was composed by the band, Masala Coffee and the background score by Vijay Kumar. Uriyadi was Masala Coffee's debut in cinema. When asked about how an engineer with no music background could pull off the BGM for a feature film, Vijay Kumar explained thus: "In the beginning, there was a music director who gave me two good songs and then quit due to health issues. While he was composing the songs, I used to get the tracks from him and assemble them in reels myself just to see where they could be used. I had already completed a reel entirely when he quit. That's when I got the idea to do it all by myself. I purchased tracks from players just by explaining the feel for the scenes, without showing them the movie. I used those and the stem tracks from Masala Coffee, who came on board later, but could not do the background score due to prior commitments. I assembled different layers from various tracks, spending over eight months on it. I don't know music but I learnt sound engineering for Uriyadi. It's just a judgment call that if I find a sound to be good, others might feel the same way too". A brief track listing follows:
|1.||"Agnikunjondru"||Mahakavi Bharatiyar||Masala Coffee|
|2.||"Maane Maane"||Anthony Daasan||Anthony Daasan|
|4.||"Agnikunjondru (Karaoke Version)"||Masala Coffee||3:19|
|5.||"Maane Maane (Karaoke Version)"||Anthony Daasan|
|6.||"Kaantha (Karaoke Version)"||Masala Coffee||4:54|
Uriyadi has cemented its status as one of the most revered and celebrated movies among people. It has been widely noted that, being the talk of the town even after a year since its release, is evidence of its success. Veteran director Bharathiraja while speaking at an event, praised Uriyadi and expressed his amazement saying "It is a beautiful film, made fantastically without any absurdity". Uriyadi also transcended cultural borders when it was screened at the Institute of Politics of the University of Wrocław in Poland and created an awareness about the Indian caste system among its students. The official representatives of the University also commended Vijay Kumar for handling a difficult subject in the movie, its realism and its unique way of narration.
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