Urvashi dominates in must-watch tale of empathy and love: 'Ullozhukku' rivets from start to finish

It’s hard to imagine a role Urvashi cannot master. From a grieving mother to any challenging character, she truly excels, a fact she reaffirms in her latest release, ‘Ullozhukku.’ Directed by Christo Tomy and co-starring Parvathy Thiruvothu, ‘Ullozhukku’ talks about the complex relationship between a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law. However, it goes beyond the typical ‘saas-bahu’ dynamics. Urvashi, as the mother-in-law Leelamma, and Parvathy, as the daughter-in-law Anju, share a home but each yearns for what they believe would be their ideal lives. In their own ways, both are prisoners of circumstances: one accustomed to a life that outwardly seems ‘good,’ while the other suffers through a loveless marriage, feeling her life wasting away day by day. A sudden death completely changes their lives, and the movie explores how these two women navigate through these new circumstances.

The movie is beautifully set against the picturesque backdrop of Kuttanad’s backwaters, yet a sombre atmosphere prevails with relentless rains that often flood their house. The rain, almost a character itself, symbolizes the persistent sorrow overshadowing their lives. Urvashi’s performance as Leelamma is extraordinary; she delicately captures the nuances of a woman whose sole joy is her family, shattered by unexpected events. Her performance is both wonderful and heartbreaking to witness. Leelamma is a caring mother and the matriarch of the household. She loves Anju as much as she loves her son Thomaskutty (Prashanth Murali), and Anju reciprocates this sentiment. However, their relationship isn’t characterized by overt affection; instead, it’s marked by a mutual understanding akin to a contractual bond. The marriage between Anju and Thomaskutty feels almost suffocating to the audience. Leelamma, fixated on the ideal of her ‘family,’ fails to grasp that her household is falling apart.

Parvathy portrays Anju with rootedness and subtlety. Anju is shown as a woman of few words, enduring a life she never desired without explosive outbursts. Instead, her expressions often convey pain and occasional indifference towards her circumstances. The interactions between Anju and Leelamma form the heart of the movie, anchoring the story. One struggles to cope with their circumstances while the other feels suffocated by them. Christo Tomy’s writing brilliantly captures the emotional complexity of these two women in a simple yet intricate manner. Each holds secrets and imperfections.

From the very start, the movie catches your attention. It’s an intense watch filled with complex emotions that prompt viewers to pick sides or ponder what’s right and wrong. However, such distinctions blur as both women have their own perspectives, making it challenging to judge either one definitively. Both women are surrounded by people yet remain lonely. Their house, isolated from the mainland, symbolizes their solitude and lack of true love. Sushin Shyam’s background music intensifies the story, while the pitter-patter of the rain serves as a natural background score.

The movie’s ending follows a predictable path based on its progression, but it concludes in a beautiful manner. Christo effectively utilizes minimal dialogue during the most intense moments, allowing even the silence to convey significant depth.
Supporting actors like Arjun Radhakrishnan, Alencier Ley Lopez, and Prashanth Murali all deliver brilliant performances. ‘Ullozhukku’ is far from a typical movie experience; it is a tale of empathy, understanding, and, above all, love. This film is a must-watch for its moving themes and outstanding performances.