Director: Vijay Kumar
Cast: Vijay Kumar, Mime Gopi, Chandru Kumar, Citizen Sivakumar, Jayakanth, Siva Perumal, Henna Bella
Much like Sholay that turned a genteel Bollywood violent and vindictive, the 1980 Subramaniapuram changed Tamil cinema into a bloody spectacle of sickle strut. Even romance came tinged with strange brutality, and though writers and directors have tried to take films away from this bloody mess, ever so often a movie comes along that has meaningless hostility and aggression. Vijay Kumar’s Uriyadi in one such work -- a two-hour long tale set in a small town, close to Chennai, that traces a friendship between four students of an engineering college.
In a town steeped in caste politics, the four get embroiled in the devious games of a local politician, essayed by Mime Gopi -- who also runs a roadside dhaba frequented by students. What to me seemed like the Coffee House on Calcutta’s College Street during its heyday in the 1970s where even radical political ideas are said to have taken shape, the dhaba in Uriyadi serves as the plotting place for the four boys -- who while away their time drinking and getting into nefarious activities. In a razor thin plot -- which sticks to caste-based politics and the resultant gore -- an eve-teasing incident involving the girlfriend (Henna Bella) of Lenin (played by director Vijay Kumar as one of the four students) sparks a chain of murders, and, incredulous as it may seem, all committed by the four youngsters, who carry on this heinousness without any regret or remorse.
Watch the trailer of Uriyadi here:
As much as caste conflict is a huge problem in Tamil Nadu, I am not sure whether college students would get into this kind of a fix that we see in the movie. Besides unimpressive performances, and amateurish scripting as well as editing, Uriyadi appears to an irresponsible run through a socially debase story.