Maheshinte Prathikaaram is touted as a cornerstone of Fahadh Faasil’s filmography. Besides becoming a box office hit, it won multiple national and state film awards. In 2018, it inspired Priyadarshan to direct the Tamil remake titled Nimir. And now we have a Telugu remake of the film, Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya, which is helmed by Venkatesh Maha of Care of Kancharapalem fame.
Since I had not seen Maheshinte Prathikaaram or Nimir, I had the benefit of watching the tale of Mahesh’s revenge playout for the first time. And I liked what I saw.
Venkatesh Maha sets the story of Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya in a hilltop Araku Valley. And Uma Maheswara Rao is the valley’s top photographer, whose expertise lies in taking passport size photographs. And that is also the main source of humour in the film. Given that it is a small town, everyone knows everybody. And everyone’s life is interconnected more than they all are aware of. For example, the pivotal moment in the story begins with an angry exchange between friends, which soon spills over and influences everyone in town. A butterfly effect, if you will.
Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya movie cast: Satyadev Kancharana, Naresh, Roopa Koduvayur
Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya movie director: Venkatesh Maha
Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya movie rating: 2.5 stars
A series of incidents consummate with Mahesh (Satyadev Kancharana), lying on his back on the main street of the town after having received a kick to his torso from an outsider. And on being motivated by his uncle Babji (Naresh), he gets up on his feet and goes swinging wildly, only to get punished more and suffer humiliation in public.
Now, what is it about this humble story of an individual seeking vengeance that keeps inspiring remakes? There is nothing much at stake. Nobody is killed, and neither is any irreversible damage inflicted on the hero or his family. It was just a random street fight and the individuals involved in it have a choice not to drag it further and move on with their separate lives. It is not exactly a recipe for a blockbuster. But, peace without a fight is not an option for our hero.
Mahesh has avoided any sort of confrontation all his life. And all of a sudden, like Chanakya, for him to take an oath of vengeance – to walk barefoot until he defeats his rival – is such a dramatic leap in his character arc. But, that fight really invoked something primal in him. It touched a raw nerve that for years, he did not know existed in him. He wants to stand up to his bully and prove that, while he may be a textbook people pleaser, he won’t take it lying down when his self-respect is at stake.
Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya is a very personal journey of a man, who learns that he can’t make peace with his bully unless he proves his strength. And in the process, he also learns how to manage his emotions and techniques to excel both in photography and a street fight.
Satyadev Kancharana delivers a sincere performance. He puts his facial features to good use to create a lot of charm. And a big shout to Venkatesh Maha’s casting choices, which makes the movie more relatable. In particular, Roopa Koduvayur, who plays a no-nonsense girlfriend of Mahesh. She comes into the narration a bit late, but she leaves a mark with her candour.