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UMRIKA

SYNOPSIS: In the mid 1980s, a small village in India is invigorated when young Udai (Prateik), travels to America - or Umrika as they call it - and details his adventures through letters home, sparking community debate and inspiring hope. But when the letters mysteriously stop coming, his younger brother Rama (Suraj Sharma) sets out on a journey to find him. With the help of his best friend Lalu (Tony Revolori), Rama retraces his brother's path to find himself charting one of his own.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The superficial attraction for some audiences may well be the pairing of Life of Pi's Suraj Sharma and the bellboy from the Grand Budapest Hotel, Tony Revolori as best friends on an adventure. And sure enough, that's a good enough reason, but there are many more, in this bitter sweet drama that marries themes of aspirational 'migration' with coming of age and cultural traditions that are broken.

Atmospheric opening scenes in a poor, remote Indian village sets the scene for armchair tourism, but these images soon give way to the faces of the characters, often in tight close up, as the story unfolds. Dustin O'Halloran's sensitive score plays a big part in creating a series of interlocking moods as the emotional journey develops.

The basic story of a young man leaving his village for the big wide world is given a twist (which I won't spoil) and the filmmakers keep us hooked as we follow young Rama (Suraj Sharma) and Lalu (Tony Revolori) on their adventure to find Udai (Prateik). Much of the tension is driven by Udsai and Rama's anxious mother (Smita Tambe) as she waits to hear from her son's safety and success in Umrika, with all a mother's heartfelt devotion.

Excellent production design and fine performances keep us engaged and involved in the outcomes, and topical issues of people smuggling adds immediacy to the story.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

UMRIKA (M)
(India, 2015)

CAST: Suraj Sharma, Tony Revolori, Prateik, Smita Tambe, Adil Hussain, Rajesh Tailang, Pramod Pathak

PRODUCER: Manish Mundra, Swati Shetty

DIRECTOR: Prashant Nair

SCRIPT: Prashant Nair

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Petra Korner

EDITOR: Xavier Bo0x, Patricia Rommel

MUSIC: Dustin O'Halloran

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rakesh Yadav

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Vendetta

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 10, 2015







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