Agni Devan is a character drama film that explores the leadership of a family newspaper by two brothers with contrasting opinions on how it should be run. One brother approaches the newspaper with a business mindset while the other (Mohanlal) prioritizes passion in his approach. This conflict reflects their ideological and attitudinal differences and creates tumult in family relationships.
Revathy plays a female cousin in the film who becomes caught up in the troubles between the two brothers. Her role as a bold and confident woman is characteristic of her acting abilities. The film is a treat for those who enjoy dialogue-centric dramas with well-defined characters. The interactions between Mohanlal and Revathy’s characters are particularly noteworthy and are executed with grace and depth.
One of the key features of the film is its sense of nativity and the cohesive identity of its setting and locality, which is a common characteristic of many Malayalam films from this period. The film has a few crude moments of physical scuffle, but overall, it is a well-crafted character drama that should appeal to those who appreciate strong characterizations and dialogue-driven narratives.
In the late 60s, veteran director Bapu made his first feature film “Sakshi” (A witness). It deals with a simpleton who is goaded by the villagers to become a court witness to a murder and later leave him to his fate. One of the first Telugu films to completely shot in outdoor, the film went on to receive lot of critical acclaim. Bapu in his illustrious career revisited the village lore, with films like ‘Manavuri pandavulu’ and ‘Muthyala muggu’, sticking to the nativity and situations related to the interior Andhra, particularly the coastal belt (Konaseema in telugu).
UMUR is one such tale that is completely set in a town around a hill station and refreshes memories of old classics while presenting the new technique of storytelling and characterization. It deals with a protagonist who is a small photo studio owner. He has never had an altercation with anyone, let alone get into a fight, and is beaten to pulp in public. His determination to avenge it and how he goes about forms the crux of the film. While this is the main theme, it’s also a coming-of-age sorts of a not so young protagonist. Plus, he finds his true love (yet again) and the real emotion behind his craft.
The first half gets a dragged a bit but the movie picks up pace from the inciting incident. Overall UMUR is a nice little film told in an endearing manner making it a decent watch in our homes.
“The scripted business is so expensive from a production and marketing perspective that you really need scale to be proitable,” says Ben Swinburne, head of U.S. media research for Morgan Stanley. “That means it will be a very small number of players that will be able to achieve that scale and profitability in the direct-to-consumer business.”