It is the fight between ‘me’ and ‘us’ that keeps the world dynamic. In a philosophical context, Udhaya’s Utharavu Maharaja has tried to strongly profess this very difference between selflessness and selfishness.
The movie starts off with a title card mentioning the main two characters and their sole definition – Prabhu acts and Udhaya reacts. This gives us enough details about what the plot would be.
The story happens in various timelines and we see Udhaya (Ravi) in different states of mind with his DID syndrome (Dissociative Identity Disorder) which is not different from Ambi’s in Anniyan. But, what Ravi goes through is totally uncertain until we get a clear picture in the interval when the first knot of the screenplay is untied.
There are some aspirational moments in the film like an Indian girl going to Mars and Raja Raja Cholan’s warriors coming back to life. With such instances, writer and director Asif Kuraishi has articulated everything without letting his audience get confused because of the four different timelines his story has. Finally, when he gives an explanation through a couple of monologues, that seem to be quite dramatic, he delivers a new twist to the plot.
When it comes to Prabhu vs Udhaya, in terms of performances, Prabhu establishes organically that he is a bit more experienced one to handle close-up frames. However, there are some Udhaya-moments in the film where he has been given wider space to emote on screen.
What came as a surprise was this number Niyayam Dharmam, that was lyrically and musically intense where the late Na Muthukumar conveyed the crux of the movie in four minutes. But, this philosophical intensity of the whole movie was the same element that backfired at times when Asif tries to say a lot in a limited time.
With a little more effort from the cast and scriptwriter, Utharavu Maharaja could have been even better. Nevertheless, the movie that starts off in a complicated structure, sets itself on track to end with its ideology conveyed well.