Uriyadi is a laugh riot, says director AJ Varghese

 thehindu.com  01/16/2020 10:51:13 

Perhaps, theres no need to feel any apprehension if these cops are in charge. Notwithstanding crime-fighting, they are also looking to have some fun off-duty. Uriyadi, directed by AJ Varghese, zooms in on the lives of a bunch of policemen and their families as they grapple with the thrills and spills of an Onam celebration. The film is set to hit the marquee today (January 17).

The story is set in the Police Quarters in the capital city. From senior police officers to constables to gunmen, we get to see a cross-section of the police hierarchy as they come together as a single unit under a residence association to take on a different mission  to ensure that their Onam celebrations go as planned. There are no senior or junior officers here. Everyone just wants to make sure there are no goof-ups from their part, says Varghese over the phone.

Varghese, who previously helmed the Dhyan Sreenivasan-starrer horror comedy Adi Kapyare Kootamani, avers that Uriyadi is not your usual cops-chasing-criminals story though there are elements of a thriller as well. The film shows a different side to policemen as we get to see their domestic and personal lives. Its an attempt to bust a perception of the police as being merely tough, cynical law-enforcers, he says.

Varghese says a highlight of Uriyadi is the big, ensemble comedy cast as the flick brings together the likes of Sreenivasan, Siddique, Prem Kumar, Baiju, Indrans, Aju Varghese, Bijukuttan, Sudhi Koppa, Noby Marcose among others, while Arya Satheesh Babu and Manasa Radhakrishnan play prominent roles. There are quite a few characters who are given equal importance. Its not a typical hero-driven movie. Theres a bit of social satire as well, he points out.

Uriyadi is scripted by debutant writer Dinesh Damodar, and Varghese says the former struck upon the idea for the film while visiting the Police Quarters near Palayam during Onam once. He got to witness a different scene from what he was expecting. We felt we could spin it into a nice story, says the director.

Shot predominantly at the real Police Quarters itself, Varghese says the city serves as a relevant backdrop to the story, so much so that it becomes a character in itself. The film was shot entirely in the city. The policemen and their families at the Quarters were truly supportive and accommodative during the shoot. However, we did not want to caricature the Thiruvananthapuram dialect in the dialogues as the characters hail from different parts of the State and the place essentially works as a melting pot of Malayalis, he explains. Varghese, a native of Pathanapuram in Kollam, says that on a personal level, he has a close association with the city, which he has made his home now.

The filmmaker says the title has significance for the mood of the story. The film is all about laughter and celebration, just like the traditional game of uriyadi played during Onam. More than the blindfolded participants, its often more interesting for the viewers. But the thrill of the game is in somebody eventually smashing the uri (pot), who becomes the hero for the day. Thats the kind of atmosphere we have endeavoured to capture in the movie too, he says.

In line with the spirit of the flick, Uriyadi has six songs, set to tune by Ishaan Dev who makes a comeback in Mollywood after eight years. The lines are penned by Anil Panachooran. Cinematography is by Jemin J Ayyaneth.

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