As soon as you start watching Uyire, it becomes clear that this isn’t going to be the filmy, traditional Tamil show we’re used to.

Uyire on ZEE5 is a Tamil show with modern twists and perfect for lockdown bingeing
Thursday, July 09, 2020 - 10:37

Watch Uyire - Ties that Bind for free on ZEE5.

Within the first four minutes of the first episode, Uyire - Ties that Bind, ZEE5’s free-to-watch Tamil show, lets us know what to expect from it. It’s centred on the family of a retired army officer with a doting wife and three smart, beautiful daughters. The first episode brings us into their home on the day of an engagement. By the fourth minute, Priya, the second daughter, who is about to get engaged, is locked in an embrace with her to-be fiancé. Meanwhile, the youngest daughter is doing her makeup wearing a western shirt tied up over her traditional Indian skirt. Not the kind of costume design you will see in the average Tamil show.

Ashwin, the fiancé, has jumped over the balcony to sneak a hug with Priya before the ceremony begins. She lovingly smacks him on the arm and asks, “Is this a Tamil movie, for you to sneak in like a thief?”

It’s clear that this isn’t going to be the filmy, traditional fare we are used to. The 54 episodes of Uyire take us on a journey of a father-daughter relationship never seen before on Tamil television. It’s a refreshingly real and relatable story of close-knit siblings trying to get through life with all ups and downs, and deal with a thrilling affair that breaks the family.

If there’s one reason you have to check it out, it’s that there is no other Tamil show out there like this. Every actor does an impressive job of the kind of restrained acting that makes family dynamics like this one so engaging.

Unafraid to take on sensitive issues

From moment to moment, Uyire tells us it’s not afraid to take on sensitive topics.

In one scene, Keerthi, the oldest, is neatening her teenage daughter’s outfit, and subtly ends up fat-shaming her. In the way the young girl’s face falls, we see the effect that her mother’s sharp words have on her. This is a family at its most honest, even when it’s not all laughter and love.

If ever you watched Modern Family and wondered what the Tamil version would be like, Uyire may be the answer, though a lot more serious. Complications abound in this family that revolves around Raghavan, the taciturn yet magnetic patriarch.

For example, Rajesh, Keerthi’s husband, is late to the engagement and oddly judgemental of how much Raghavan is spending on Priya’s wedding, despite being in debt to his father-in-law. Rajesh and Keerthi have a small fight about it, but in a realistic writing choice, resolve it quickly and lovingly. All of this comes out through dialogue nuances - a refreshing change from the on-the-nose storytelling and one-note acting we’re usually served in shows.

In a later conversation between Priya and Raghavan, he brings up an adage that’s been used for generations to warn against having girl children - you have to let them go, and it hurts. But somehow in this context, the line flips from something anti-female to something honest. The sadness of a father watching his little girl grow up and need him less. This kind of authentic, soulful moment sets Uyire up to the kind of family drama Tamil series lovers have wanted and never been given all this time.

Loving, authentic and relatable

Love, both romantic and familial, can be beautiful and painful. Uyire seems aware of this.

In a sweet romantic scene at dusk, Ashwin tells Priya how he’s wary of her big, bustling family - as anybody who isn’t used to it would be. The couple promise to love and care for each other for a lifetime, and you can’t help but feel like something bad is going to happen to them down the line. Nothing that starts this well stays on a smooth path.

Later that night, Priya and her father have an emotional conversation. Raghavan’s heart is aching as he watches another daughter get married off, and he’s suspicious of Ashwin. Maybe it’s just fatherly protectiveness, or maybe it’s intuition. He doesn’t know. Raghavan displays this internal conflict honestly, but without theatrics. The conversation tugs at the heart.

And finally, there’s a heart-warming scene of the three sisters winding down over facemasks and banter. This is the typical girls’ night sleepover we’ve all been part of, and it feels surprisingly authentic.

The immediate urge to click on Episode 2 as the first episode ends is undeniable. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a new episode every day, so you never have to wait too long for an update on how the lives of this complex family unfold. A Tamil show that hits all the right drama and thriller notes without pandering or overacting? It’s exactly what locked down binge-watchers need.

This article was created by TNM Brand Studio in association with ZEE5 Tamil.