Sexy Urmila woos the serious
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Sexy Urmila woos the serious

Urmila goes beyond the simplistic in Banaras, writes Arnab Banerjee.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 20:37 IST

Very few child actors have made it. And even if they have, few have emerged from the baggage of loud and precocious acting style that Hindi films in particular, saddle most child actors with.

But that's the truth about most, not all actors. Thankfully there are some who hone their craft when the going gets tough and make the necessary switch to meaningful roles at the right time. And one such actor is Urmila Matondkar.

After flaunting her sexy tag for nearly decade, the siren is now gradually turning towards the serious. In this week's Pankuj Parasher directed film Banaras- A Mystic Love Story, Matondkar once again goes beyond the simplistic pattern where an actor accepts a challenge but merely parrots lines without internalising the intricate and complexities of deep-rooted philosophy and spiritual journeys.

She allows the protagonist, Shwetambari, to develop and come into her own in the course of the film. From a student, who is oblivious to mysticism, to the tormented soul when strange things begin to baffle her. She eventually becomes the enlightened soul.

 Urmila Matondkar moves from pinnacle to pinnacle since her first big break in Rangeela

Of course the unnecessary shifts in the script and out-of-the-blue songs (though well composed) let her down, but you can't blame her for all the slips. On her part, it's a pleasure to see her mouth spiritual dictates without resorting to sermonising.

Her transformation from a happy-go-lucky girl to someone whose deep understanding of the mystic is only believable by her quiet expressive reactions. Urmila could have gone overboard, harnessing the character's demands with undue mannerisms. Instead she relies heavily on internal self-discovery, while alluding only to the supernatural elements.

The discovery of the unknown to her is a mystery, which she is determined to unravel. The climax of the film couldn’t have been just another well-executed underwater sequence.

She almost seems swayed by the depth of the emotive power of her relationship with her parents. And as she faces her dying father, her world comes apart, leaving her shattered. The scene would have impacted even more had the director not insisted on dialogues that tend to go over-the-top.

But Matondkar conveys the right mix of pain, relief and anger in good measure through he eyes. And that's becoming her strength for sure. In the years to come, with Shyam Benegal and Karan Johar both relying on her forte to do the unconventional with panache and intelligence, let's hope there's going to be more of her great work, without he crutches of a certain Ram Gopal Varma!

First Published: Apr 10, 2006 10:00 IST