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Parvathy and Asif Ali in ‘Uyare’. Image Credit: Supplied

“Had the crime been committed by an enemy, I would have let him go, But, it was committed by someone whom I loved immensely,” is a poignant line from Parvathy’s stirring film ‘Uyare’.

With one stroke, an aspiring pilot Pallavi Raveendran (Parvathy) encapsulates how her dignity, spirit and her appearance was stripped and scarred forever by a senseless act of violence.

A spurned fiance (Asif Ali) decides that splashing acid on his girlfriend’s face was his retribution or payback for the rejection he faced. ‘Uyare’ painstakingly re-constructs the irreversible events in her life.

It’s a subject that could have been easily tilted towards propaganda drivel about good vs evil and being overly soft on the survivor with a cloyingly-emotional sob story. However, director Manu Ashokan shows considerable heft and grip as a director as he assembles a touching tale about a broken woman who pieces her shattered life back together with enough grit and grumble.

Parvathy as the acid attack survivor Pallavi is perfectly cast and plays her character with a potent mix of vulnerability and resilience. She’s smart on all fronts, except her choice in her man.

Her toxic relationship with her possessive, self-centred boyfriend — played brilliantly by Ali — is played out in an engagingly eerie manner. You know things are not going to end well, but you are still unprepared for all that vitriol and hate.

Pallavi’s relationship and their back story is told swiftly, but it’s during the events that play out after her life-altering acid attack that the film gains true momentum. The psychological scars from an acid attack is shown with incredible sensitivity. There’s no attempt to manipulate the viewers into feeling sympathetic. The scenes which play out organically has the power to move you without spelling out each emotion for you.

It’s one of the biggest strengths of ‘Uyare’. It’s a searing portrait on love, loss, reclamation and letting go.

The director and the actors are never coaching you on what to feel, but they just let the story play out through the changing dynamics in Pallavi’s life. The entry of the airline tycoon and heir apparent, played with impish charm by Tovino Thomas, and his tenuous relationship with Pallavi is the silver lining. The other bonds that Pallavi shares is given equal play and credence.

Pallavi’s relationship with her mature, doting father (Siddique in superb form), her friends from pilot training academy and her toxic relationship with her boyfriend form the sturdy spine behind this moving drama. Rarely has a film explored the dynamics between a widower father and 20-something daughter who’s struggling to come to terms with her disfigured face with such depth. The rage that a survivor like Pallavi feels towards her ex-lover, a dysfunctional brute with a warped sense of justice, evokes a sense of anguish among the viewers.

While most of ‘Uyare’ is melodrama-free, there’s an aviation adventure twist in the second half that borders on the preposterous. But that’s a tiny bump in an otherwise wonderfully-acted and evocative film.

Watch ‘Uyare’. Lead performer Parvathy and her wonderfully-talented crew soar to great heights in this humanity-in-anguish story. There’s plenty of turbulence in this touching story, but the landing is smooth.

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Film: ‘Uyare’

Director: Manu Ashokan

Cast: Parvathy, Asif Ali, Tovino Thomas and Siddique

Stars: 4 out of 5