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Saturday, 15 June 2019

Unda Movie Latest Review

Unda Movie Review: Mammootty Back to Being a Cop in Entertaining Dark Comedy

Movie Title:

Khalid Rahman

Star Cast:
Mammootty, Bhagwan Tiwary

Unda movie rating: 5 stars

Director Khalid Rahman, who made the well appreciated Anuraga Karikkinvellam earlier, is back with a realistic drama with strong political statements in Unda.

There are no stunts in the air, no long lines preaching a policeman’s duty. 

And when there is an attack, Mammootty does not brave every bullet and walk upfront like a superhero, he sits down weakened. In that sense, Unda, directed by Khalid Rahman, keeps the actor who's used to doing too many superhero roles in the past, rooted. And that is a much welcome relief.

Unda does not offer a lot in terms of surprises or thrills. 

It is a plain narrative of a few days in the lives of a few policemen going for election duty in a Maoist-affected area in Chhattisgarh. Mammootty as Mani sir leads the mostly-young bunch of men, including Jojo (Shine Tom Chacko), Gireesh (Arjun Ashokan) and Aji (Rony David). 

The men have their own issues – one is expecting a child that week, another is going through a divorce, a third is being ridiculed by others for coming from a tribal area, two others are not on talking terms. 

But their bigger problem now is not having enough ammunition (unda in Malayalam) to face a possible Maoist attack. The Indian Tibetan Border Police are surprised that they have come with so little preparation – lathi sticks and wooden shields and a few guns they don’t know to use – while the team tries to get reinforcement from Kerala.

Narendran in Roudram. Rajan Zachariah in Kasaba. Manikandan in Unda. 

Three police officers as different as chalk and cheese. It is this ability to live a character that sets Mammootty apart from his more popular contemporaries. 

Manikandan could have been any other ageing cop you find around you, with no filmy, superhuman abilities. He is part of a Kerala Police unit that is sent to Bastar to assist the Indo-Tibetan Border Police during the elections. 

The unit branches off there and he leads a smaller team to one of the villages.

None of them have been in this part of the world earlier. Their struggles with the terrain, scarcities and the language are depicted beautifully, and, at times, hilariously. 

Director Rahman, who co-scripted the film with Harshad, ensures the humour and the endearing moments do not look forced. You will come across them in the most unlikely of places. 

Even in the midst of land mines and threat of a Maoist attack, the team treats it like an “excursion”. 

The audience gets a feel of Bastar's raw beauty, thanks to Sajith Purushan's brilliant cinematography and Prashant Pillai's lilting music.

Performance: As a police officer, Mammootty has delivered a brilliant performance, which is the highlight of Unda. 

Shine Tom Chacko, Arjun Ashokan, Jacob Gregory, Ranjith, Bhagwan Tiwari, Omkar Das Manikpuri, Chien Ho Liao, Asif Ali, Vinay Forrt, Sudhi Koppa and others have done justice to their respective roles and they are also assets of the movie, say the viewers.

Technical: Unda has decent production value and Prashant Pillai's background score, Sajith Purushan's beautiful picturisation, action, dialogues and Nishad Yusuf's editing are the attractions on the technical front, according to the audience.

Unda is a bold and daring act of expression that draws parallels between the violence perpetrated by gun-wielding Maoists and power-wielding corrupt politicians. 

The film doesn’t offer easy solutions to the human and moral crisis that unfolds on screen. It simply mirrors the life-altering problems stemming from the amoral power structure

However, that doesn't take away the fact that Unda is an unbridled entertainer with a heart that makes you root for the Kerala Police. 

It opens your eyes to the gap between the administration, the bureaucracy, and the working force.

It opens your eyes to the fact that the police force is but made of men with human needs, feelings and flaws. And that all the shortcomings and flaws withstanding, they too give up lot for the state machinery to function.

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