After The Credits Roll: Pallavi Might Be Flying Somewhere 5 Years After Uyare

Director Manu Ashokan and writer Sanjay talk about the friendship between Pallavi and Vishal, the process of healing and imagine where they might be right now
After The Credits Roll: Pallavi Might Be Flying Somewhere 5 Years After Uyare

In a fraction of a second, when her abusive boyfriend throws acid on her face, Pallavi’s (Parvathy Thiruvothu) life comes crashing down, one that she slowly and savourly dreamt and built since the age of 14. But moments before her dreams to fly were chopped off, Pallavi actually found her own wings – wings of individuality and independence.

Sanjay, the writer of Uyare (2019), tells us that the moment she realised she was an individual with her own wants, she began fighting for her dreams. Even when she couldn’t become a pilot, this individuality is what helps her move on. And I wonder how much she would’ve healed in the past five years. Would Pallavi still be an air hostess? Would there be a different dream she would be chasing? What would her relationship with Vishal (Tovino Thomas) be right now?

So we catch up with director Manu Ashokan and writer Sanjay (the story was penned by writers Bobby-Sanjay) as they look back at the childhoods of Pallavi and Vishal, their friendship and how much their lives would’ve changed in these five years.

Director Manu Ashokan and writer Sanjay
Director Manu Ashokan and writer Sanjay

When you think of Uyare now, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Sanjay: It all started with the visual that came to our mind – an acid attack survivor is in front of the airport, donning the cabin crew uniform. Her dad is there to send her off and the whole crowd in the airport applauds. I have no clue how we thought of this visual but it is where it all started. And that’s the image that comes to my mind now.

Manu: Pallavi’s face is what comes to mind. To me, her face should be the face of society where beauty is often defined in a cliched way.

Our dreams are very precious to us. So it’s devastating to know they’ll never be realised. What do you think keeps Pallavi going even when she loses her dreams?

Sanjay: Life is all about moving on and we don’t have a choice but to heal ourselves. That’s what Pallavi does. As a subtext, what interested us was the philosophy in the story. On one level, Uyare is a story about chauvinism and misogyny. And the destroyer of Pallavi’s dreams is the male ego.

When Govind’s love becomes a selfish feeling, Pallavi’s dreams begin to crumble. She didn’t see the danger signal early on. In a good relationship, you love the other person for who they are. That’s why Pallavi tells him he has to love her for who she is and not according to his definition. So, Pallavi finding her dream is not about her being a part of the cabin crew or flying an aeroplane. When she refuses to be just a lover, when she begins to be an individual, she begins to achieve her dreams. It is also why we enjoyed writing the moment where Tovino’s character proposes to Pallavi but she wants his friendship. Vishal isn’t the knight in shining armour saving and marrying her. As writers, we didn’t want that. Instead, Pallavi rejects his proposal because she clearly understands what she needs. That’s where she understands herself as an individual.

Tell us more about their friendship. Do they still stay in touch? 

Sanjay: Male-female friendships are beautiful – it’s a relationship without conditions. Gender isn’t important in friendship and this refines the idea of gender equality. This is why Pallavi wants to be only friends with Vishal, she doesn’t want conditions in her life.

Maybe she was also scared of getting into a new relationship. 

Manu: Yes, it’s a 50-50 thing. She has had a very rude experience with her relationship, so she might’ve had the fear of getting into another. But she doesn’t want any conditions and restrictions either. And in friendship, we respect the boundaries, their personal space, mental condition, etc.

But do you think she would have moved on now?

Manu: The moment she says she doesn’t want to know about the verdict, she has moved on. I don’t know if she has gotten into any relationship in these years but she has moved on from her previous relationship. Now, she will be flying her dreams, she might be flying somewhere. 

So, do Vishal and Pallavi still stay in touch?

Sanjay: Of course, they are in touch! Why shouldn’t they be? She works in his company. I don’t know if it was communicated, but the decision to dismiss Pallavi was cancelled. The applause cancels it. Today, maybe she's in a bigger position. But I don’t think about it a lot because it kind of gives closure to the characters. I want to set them free.

A still from Uyare
A still from Uyare

I found the film's emphasis on the childhood of Pallavi, Vishal and Govind, and their evolving relationships with their families quite fascinating.

Sanjay: Childhood is the most important stage in all our lives. In other stages, we have a certain control. But when we are children, others control our lives. That’s why it’s important to be very careful when taking care of children. I have a ten-year-old daughter and I must talk to her with the same level of seriousness that I would have while discussing things with my producer. But most parents don’t take them seriously. We need to understand our children and spend time with them. That’s what Govind’s father repents not doing. In a way, he has contributed to the way Govind behaves. An elder must ensure the child is safe and has hope. In the film, we show three childhoods and how that contributes to why and who they become later. 

Do you think Pallavi’s father too feels guilty thinking if he had been there for the younger Pallavi, she might’ve never met Govind?

Sanjay: Yes, absolutely. He is very guilty. We also felt that in his actions. He is kind of making up for what he didn’t do earlier.

What about the relationship between Vishal and his father? Do you think it would have changed at least now?

Sanjay: Vishal’s father is someone who asks too much from his son and it’s not every day you get to prove yourself. Maybe the day Pallavi landed the flight safely, he might have proved something to his father. But I think the appreciation might still be just momentary. Their relationship wouldn’t have changed. It’s only in movies that one incident would change a 60-70 year old person forever (laughs).

But would Vishal be a very different person today? Could he have started his own business?

Manu: His determination was clear in the climax itself. His support was what offered 50% confidence to Pallavi. So, he might have moved away and started his own business.

Sanjay: That sounds interesting. I think he may have moved away from his father’s clutches. Even in the film, you see hints of the transformation he goes through and how he begins to look at life and relationships differently. He looks at things more seriously.

Lastly, how do you think that one flying experience changed Pallavi

Sanjay: After that one flying experience and saving a lot of lives, when her father informs her that the verdict will be out soon, she doesn’t care. That’s why the last shot of the film is in the sky – she has gone beyond. What she does today or in the future and what her job would be are very peripheral to her. In the kind of space she is in, such petty things have ceased to bother her.

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