Umrika (2015)

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Released 21-Jan-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-x 2 for other titles
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 96:28 (Case: 98)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Prashant Nair
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Suraj Sharma
Tony Revolori
Smita Tambe
Prateik Babbar
Sauraseni Bisht
Pramod Pathak
Rajesh Tailang
Adil Hussain
Amit Sial

Case Alpha-Transparent
RPI ? Music Dustin O’Halloran


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     A young man, Udai (Prateik Babbar), leaves his small Indian hill village in the 1980s for a better life in Umrika (America). His mother (Smita Tambe) is distraught at her eldest son leaving, and even more distressed when there are no letters from Udai, taking it out on her husband (Pramod Pathak) and other, younger, son Ramakant. But when letters suddenly start to arrive all is well and she has the letters read all around the village as the years pass. But when the father is killed in an accident, the now grown up Ramakant (Suraj Sharma) discovers that the letters had been manufactured by his father and the Postman (Rajesh Tailang) and that Udai had disappeared.

     Ramakant learns that the last contact with Udai in the city was with crime boss and people smuggler Patel (Adil Hussain), so he becomes determined to follow Udai’s trail. He leaves the village for the city but Patel proves difficult to get to see so Ramakant lives with his uncle Rajan (Amit Sial), working as a delivery boy and finding time to fall in love with Rudhika (Sauraseni Bisht). He is later joined by Lalu (Tony Revolori), his boyhood friend from the village, and continues his search for Udai, all the time continuing to send his mother letters and money as if from Udai. But when Ramakant does unexpectedly find what happened to Udai, matters become even more complicated.

     Umrika is a beautiful, funny and touching film, the second by writer / director Prashant Nair. The drawcard would certainly be a cast which includes Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi (2012)) and US born Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)), although in truth Revolori does not have a lot to do. The same cannot be said for Sharma who is excellent, giving a natural and very watchable performance as a young man on a journey of discovery, seeking both his brother and his own place in the world. His developing relationship with a good Sauraseni Bisht is delicately played and uncontrived; in fact the entire script feels believable and real, including the ambiguous ending.

     Smita Tambe, as the very firm minded mother, is also good value and the film’s locations, be they the dusty hill village with the roaming chickens or the vibrant city streets teeming with people and colour, also look beautiful courtesy of cinematographer Petra Korner.

     Umrika is a coming of age story about dreams and opportunities. It is colourful, well-acted and takes some interesting turns on the way to a conclusion that never feels contrived.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Umrika is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Umrika was shot using the Arriflex 416 which is a 16 mm format. It results in a very grainy image in interior sequences under low light with less than firm blacks and indistinct shadow detail, although exterior sequences are much crisper. Colours are natural and rich, especially in village scenes. Skin tones are good. Some sequences also looked to have a greenish tinge.

     There was motion blur against mottled surfaces and railings but I noticed no other marks or artefacts except some shimmer during the end titles.

    There are white burnt in US English subtitles which are easy to read and error free.

     The layer change at 45:18 created a pause at the start of a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     The audio is front oriented. Dialogue is centred and clear (except in one scene towards the end where the dialogue by Tony Revolori seemed to have an echo). The surrounds and rears provided mostly music, crowd ambience and at one place a very loud thunderstorm. The subwoofer added a little bass to the thunderstorm, bus and tractor engines and the music.

    The score by Dustin O’Halloran was moving, adding significantly to the mood of the film.

     Lip synchronisation seemed fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

     Trailers for The Assassin (2:02) and Marshland (1:41) play on start-up. These same trailers can also be selected from the menu.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US release of Umrika also seems to be without extras while the UK release is an all-region PAL like ours. Draw.

Summary

     Anything filmed in India will look colourful and vibrant, and Umrika does not disappoint. The film is not a Bollywood sing and dance film but a touching and funny coming of age story with a good, uncontrived script and believable characters and acting. It is well worth a look if you are interested in something a bit different, or India or World cinema.

     The video and audio are acceptable. Trailers for other films are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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