Uppena is a 2021 Indian Telugu-language romantic drama film written and directed by debutant Buchi Babu Sana. The film is produced by collaboration with Naveen Yerneni and Y. Ravi Shankar of Mythri Movie Makers in a collaboration with Sukumar Writings. The film features debutants Panja Vaisshnav Tej and Krithi Shetty in the lead roles, with Vijay Sethupathi playing a prominent role. Set near Kakinada of 2002, the plot follows Aasi (Tej), a fisherman who falls in love with Bebamma (Shetty). Her father Raayanam (Sethupathi) is an influential zamindar, who fiercely protects his daughter to safeguard his family's honour.
After a launch ceremony on January 2019, the makers commenced the principal shoot in May 2019, with film being shot in Kakinada, Hyderabad, Puri, Kolkata and Gangtok and wrapped up in January 2020. The music is composed by Devi Sri Prasad, with cinematography and editing by Shamdat and Naveen Nooli respectively. The film was originally slated to release on 2 April 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film released theatrically on 12 February 2021.
Set in 2002 in the village of Uppada near Kakinada, Raayanam is an influential zamindar who goes to any extent to safeguard his family's honour. His daughter Sangeetha, fondly called Bebamma is a college student whom he fiercely protects. Raayanam plans to build a shipping yard in his village by razing fishermen's houses on the coast. Aasi is the son of one such fisherman Jalayya, and is a low-caste Christian. He falls head over heels for Bebamma. Bebamma also begins to like Aasi after watching him fight in the bazaar. Aasi follows Bebamma daily en route to her college on the bus. One day, the bus breaks down and the driver asks Aasi to drop the Bebamma, the only passenger of the bus, at college. Later, the couple begins to meet daily at the beach and soon fall in love with each other.
Meanwhile, the breeding season of the fish arrives and no one is allowed to venture into the sea for over a month-and-a-half. Bebamma, however, asks Aasi to take her into the sea, which he obliges. As the boat runs out of fuel, they get stuck in the sea. On the same night, Raayanam orders to raze the houses on the coast but he is worried that his daughter hasn’t returned home. Raayanam secretly meets Jalayya and asks him to find his missing daughter, in exchange, his house will be spared. Aasi and Bebamma spend the night together on the boat intimately. Jalayya finds them the next morning and admonishes Aasi. He returns Bebamma to her father but lies that she was found alone on the boat.
Raayanam, however, is determined to find Bebamma’s partner. He finds a shirt in Bebamma’s wardrobe by which he tracks him down as Aasi. Raayanam’s men attack Aasi and his father at the village mela, and Jalayya dies in strife. The following day, Bebamma runs away from her house and asks Aasi to elope with her. He reluctantly agrees, and they board a train to Odisha escaping Raayanam’s men. From there, the couple travels to Kolkata, and later to Gangtok. Aasi picks up odd jobs and keeps Bebamma in a hostel until they move in together.
Several months pass by. Raayanam has promised his sister that her son shall be married to Bebamma within six months. All the days when Bebamma is away, Raayanam and his men pretend as if she was there to save his family's honour. Nearly six months after they elope, Aasi promises to marry Bebamma and takes her to a railway station. There, Raayanam’s men kidnap Bebamma and bring her back to her father. Bebamma confesses to Raayanam that she had sex with Aasi that night on the boat and pleads to let her go. But Raayanam doesn’t budge saying he would never let his daughter marry a lower caste, which he considers a dishonour. He says it was Aasi who disclosed their location to him. Raayanam also reveals that he physically emasculated Aasi by amputating his penis and his father dying of a heart stroke by seeing that the night before Bebamma and Aasi eloped. Raayanam believes she would not go back to Aasi because he has lost his manhood. However, Bebamma loves Aasi as a person, regardless of what he did to him. She says neither Raayanam nor Aasi is the one who can judge the manhood of a person. Bebamma adds that manhood is not related to any organ but to a man's personality. Raayanam is moved and lets her go. Bebamma and Aasi reunite.