Uriyadi 2 Movie Review: Like in the first Uriyadi, the protagonist in this sequel-in-spirit, Lenin Vijay (Vijay Kumar) is a youngster whose ambition in life is to be jolly. But he also has social conscience and a seething anger against injustice. Unlike the first film, which was set in the 1990s, this story happens in the present day, and revolves around a chemical plant that is flouting environmental norms (think Union Carbide or Sterlite Copper) and poses a great threat to the people living nearby. Lenin is one of them. He and his two friends are in fact newly recruited employees at this plant.
When a couple of tragic accidents (one involving his own friend) occur at his workplace, Lenin realises that poor maintenance is the cause behind them and tries to alert the authorities, the local leaders and his people. The owner already has his sight set on a copper mining project as he knows the plant isn’t profitable and is reluctant to spend on maintenance. The two major political leaders in the region are more concerned about an upcoming election, and are busy striking deals with the owner. So, when a leak occurs, it results in disaster, leading to loss of many lives. Can Lenin ensure that justice is done?
If Uriyadi was an action thriller, Uriyadi 2 feels more like a disaster movie — at least for two-thirds of its running time. We get the build-up to the disaster in the first act; the second act involves the actual disaster; and the third, narrates the aftermath. Vijay Kumar makes the first two acts compelling. In the first, he introduces the various characters and their relationships, including the romance, which is suitably kept short and sweet. The socio-political aspects, like how caste comes into play, are nicely detailed, with hard-hitting dialogues. And he presents the actual disaster in harrowing fashion. Unlike in other films, even the protagonist is clueless about stopping it and is helpless when it comes to saving his people. All that he can do is stay cooped up with a few other factory workers inside the plant while the chemical wreaks havoc on the people in the locality. The tone of this film is more melodramatic, but that sits well with the story. It also helps that Govind Vasantha’s score is somewhat grungy and lends some edge.
It is in the third act that Uriyadi 2 feels like a lesser film than the first one. Part of the reason is because in the first film, the conflict, despite revolving around caste, and the tragedy were more or less personal, so the actions of the protagonist were entirely satisfying. But here, both the conflict and the tragedy are not only on a personal scale; and they also come loaded with practical questions about the future. And it is in the addressing of this issue that the film feels a little underwhelming. Perhaps Vijay Kumar realises this, too — that collective justice, in today’s socio-political climate, cannot become reality. And that is why, in the end, he makes Lenin resort to a form of revenge that is more or less personal and not very convincing.