Udanpirappe means brother and sister in Tamil. The title and trailer of the film Jyothika explain the film’s central theme, Annan-Thangachi Pasam or brother-sister affection, and Udanpirappe works as expected. It is a rural drama, in which the Oor Thiruvila (Village Festival) begins which depicts the bond between brothers and sisters.
As the relationship drama unfolds, we meet the brother and sister who haven’t spoken to each other for many years. The audience has seen many such movies in Tamil which is enough to make one guess that by the end of the film, the siblings will settle the conflict and live happily ever after.
However, FlyingPirappe has much more to offer than a generous dose of melodrama using very familiar tropes.
Matangi (Jyotika) is the darling of the village. Belonging to an influential family, she uses her free time to help the people of the village and make their lives better. Her elder brother Vairav (M. Sasikumar) is a self-appointed Sardar, a godfather-like figure who fights corporate greed and government misrule for the betterment of the weak and poor in his village. He thinks that he can solve any problem with his physical prowess and fighting skills. Matangi’s husband Vathi (played by Samuthirakani), however, believes strongly in law and non-violence.
The clash between Vairav and Vaathi’s beliefs strains their relationship while demanding a heavy price from Matangi. By the way director era. Saravanan has staged this relationship. The drama is refreshing. Unlike previous films of the same gene pool, the bond between a sister and a brother is not judged by factors such as greed, vengeance, or pride. This is not the story of a brother who dedicates his life for the happiness of his sister, only for her to marry an evil man and suffer for the rest of his life.
There is no demon in the family. Both Vathi and Vairavas are good natured, progressive and decent people. The conflict between them stems from ideological differences. It’s a battle between good people as they try to outdo each other in an attempt to establish a righteous way to live a dignified life in an overly complex and morally decaying world.
Saravanan also quietly breaks down traditional gender stereotypes, although this is unclear on the surface. He always puts the final decision in the hands of Matangi in matters of life and death. On more than one occasion, she decides who lives and who dies. While Matangi and her sister-in-law are okay with Vairav’s violent ways to bring peace to the village, Vathi has a problem with it. Traditionally in our movies, it is women who are wary of being in a relationship with a violent man and end it for this reason (Viswasam, Veeram to name a few).
Rape victims in Udanpirappe are not burdened with the guilt and shame of the crime to which they were subjected. It is the rapist who remembers the crimes, while his kin bears the burden of guilt and shame.
For viewers who aren’t too keen on analyzing the gender dynamics of Udanpirappe, the film may click as a family drama for its strong emotional beats and contemporary and satirical social message.
Jyothika, Samuthirakani and Sasikumar fit into their respective roles effortlessly and give a genuine performance.