Siby Malayil's 'Unnam' is a film that starts off promisingly and then goes off tangent all on a sudden. The end product isn't therefore half as intriguing as it should have been, given the structuring of the plot.
Balakrishna, (Sreenivasan) a police officer based in Bangalore, runs into a few crores worth hashish while snooping around a crime scene. In an effort to make some quick money, he tries to sell it off to Sunny (Lal) an underworld don who has called it quits. Sunny on his part, invites four allies, Murukan, Basheer, Aloysius and Tommy to join the operation.
No prizes for guessing that the plan goes awry, and the booty gets looted half way through. In no time, the four member gang (with one of them already bumped off) find themselves at a dead end, and try hard to figure out the betrayer among them.
The smell of a wannabe thriller lingers through out the film, and the stage is set. There is plenty of money, infidelity, and sad lives lying all around. So why is it then that the film fails to deliver?
To start with, there is the suspense element that is thrown right on your face even as the film heads towards the mid point. There are of course plenty of films that make the all important revelation right at the starting point and then build on it gradually to move towards an exhilarating climax. 'Unnam' is unfortunately unable to do the same, and instead makes do with the tiny flashes of excitement every now and then.
I wouldn't say the thrills are non-existent though. They do make their appearance every now and then; like the moment when Jenny (Rima Kallingal) reveals her identity causally to us, or the scene in which Sunny recognizes the traitor. But they are quite few and far in between.
If there is one actor who makes watching 'Unnam' worthwhile, it has to be Prasanth Narayan. I really hope we get to see more of this actor in Malayalam films, and its courtesy his emphatic performance that Tommy remains the only character whom you feel like reaching out to, despite his having shades of grey all over. Asif is remarkably confident playing Aloysius, and of course, Nedumudi Venu, Lal and Sreenivasan are quite at ease playing their parts as well.
Why the women in 'Unnam' sport horrendous wigs is a mystery that we probably would never figure out. Rima's wig for instance looks like a sparrow nest that the bird has made in a hurry and abandoned, and almost threatens to fall off any moment. If the idea was to make her look like the chic modern lass, it falls flat on its face. In sharp contrast to Rima's character is Zarina (Swetha Menon) who survives an under written part and another dreadful wig and fiercely rises up the ordinary.
And the biggest tragedy of it all is that I've seen Sriram Raghavan's 'Johny Gaddar' and tremendously liked it as well. I can't help comparing it with the original as well, since the inspiration is a bit too obvious, and have to conclude that this one is a film that falls short of the target by a mile.
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