Saturday, September 19, 2009

Unnai Pool Oruvan: A Review

This film is a remake of a hit Hindi language thriller, A Wednesday. A lot has been said about the original, especially the plot, the script, the performance and the overall gritty realistic feel. I haven’t seen it.

But judging from what I have seen here, it’s safe to say that the original is not that original at all. If you have seen the Die Hard films and the films that novelist James Ellroy has been involved in (L.A Confidential, Dark Blue, etc), you know what to expect. Just switch the political viewpoint according to the geography and you can something fresh. A pal of mine who watched this with me keep telling me that there is an interesting twist towards the end of the film that I sort of watched it with twisted mind and came out not surprised at all.

Anyway, to the film. The title roughly means “SomeoneLike You” that means a commoner which the protagonist supposed to be. Played by uber cool Kamal, he is no way a commoner. During the title scene he is shown making a bomb. And during the conversations with the commissioner (Mohanlal), he appears to be intelligent, witty, and man with tremendous knowledge who doesn’t mix his facts. Oh, and he handles a revolver like a pro. Nope, not a commoner. In fact, we got ourselves the super cool Kamal that we know from way back in the 80s. Cunning, shrewd & a masterplanning avenger, this is an updated version of Kamal in Oru Kaithiyin Diary (the daddy).

So, the rough outline of the plot. Kamal plants bomb all over the city and calls up Commisioner threatening him to release four terrorists or else…. So, its cat & mouse game and lots of politics is thrown in, and if you are Indian you are going to relate a lot to what is happening in that country, especially in Chennai (more meaningful in Bomb prone Mumbai, though).

So, you have lots of phone conversation between Kamal and Mohanlal (think In Line of Fire & Die Hard 3), and the frantic Mohanlal issuing orders around to get things under control, but ultimately giving in to the callers instruction which I felt a bit too simplistic. Sure, he gets his team to investigate the caller and has two men on the field to investigate, but he gives in anyway…too soon that is.

But that is the scripts fault. I leave that to Bollywood pundits to beat each other to pulp to figure out whether or not the script is brilliant. I smell Hollywood, that’s all.

Now performance. As I said, Kamal is cool. All he has to do is sit in front of the laptop and talk to his Bluetooth earpiece most of the time and issue instruction, stretch himself like a satisfied cat, stand by the edge of the still-under-construction building and give that demeanour of a man under control. He breaks down towards the end of the film, and wipes the tears with his revolver. Now, how cool is that?

Supporting performances were good too. Lakshmi as Chief Secretary is the typical Hollywood jurisdiction debating authority, crossing sword with the hapless Commissioner. Standing out is one Ganesh Venkatraman (I had to look him up in the internet) who plays Task Force officer, but more of a cop-beater if you ask me. Tall, well built & very good looking (had man crush myself), his could-have-been-cute-face has permanent scowl in it and he didn’t have to beat people up to scare them as we get to see in one interrogation scene. Like Madhavan, here’s another good Tamil actor who will not be appreciated here and is going to have glorious career in Bollywood.

And now let me talk about Mohanlal, or Lal-ettan as his fans call him. Unlike Kamal’s character who speaks to only him most of the time, Lal has to deal with lots of people and that’s not an easy task. The abovementioned Chief of Secretary, issuing orders around, dealing with an ethical hacker (his reaction to this scene is priceless), Lal’s Commissioner Maraar is the epitome of cool amidst explosion, control amidst chaos & bringer of humour amidst the tension that is thrown in our direction. And I mean laugh out loud moments. Such a treasure this man is.

Moving on. The pace seemed fast at the beginning but during the third quarter of the film I started to get dozy. The race and religion politics behind the script felt a bit tame, for if they had been more to the point the controversy itself could elevate the tension and hey, sell the movie. The right wing message of “an eye for an eye” is not new in any film industry, just ask Dirty Harry.

Oh, the background score. Handled by Kamal’s daughter, Shruti Haasan, they hardly register. In fact, the film could have benefited a lot more with very minimalist score, instead of the usual bombastic stuff you expect from Indian films.

Nothing much about cinematography which is very apt at times, and very showy in other times. Also, nothing much to say how much the director contributed, seeing he had a “good” script in his hand.

All in all, a good entertaining flick that will not disappoint Tamil film and Kamal Haasan fans. My favourite moment in that movie has shades of my favourite film comedian Goundamani’s trademark dialogues. When the commissioner asks for guarantee, Kamal responds, “Intha guarantee, warranty kodukkurathukku naan enna pressure cooker-ah?” LOL.

11 comments:

dagalti said...

The GMish line is in the original too

Guarantee ? Mein kya panka bhej raha hoon ?

(Guarantee ? Am I selling you a ceiling fan ?)

Quite a laugh out loud moment.

Anyway, look fwd to seeing it soon

Rakesh Kumar said...

Hah! Annan pugazh reached the north, I see? I suppose its typical Indian nakkal. Thanks for reading PR.

plm said...

Grouch, idhai hub-layum sollunga - mean the bit on the original being not so original - :-)

Rakesh Kumar said...

Haha, Plum. I saw the war in the Bollywood thread...athan I said, let them beat each other to pulp-nu. I am not qualified as I haven't seen the original. TF said this is very close to the original, and if so I saw traces of the films that I mentioned. Ambuduthen. Thanks for reading.

ஜோ/Joe said...

Great review ..Almost agree with you.

Rakesh Kumar said...

Thanks Joe. Been following the thread and saw bits and pieces of your view which sort of similar to what I feel. That's not new, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Some1 you know said...
//A pal of mine who watched this with me keep telling me that there is an interesting twist towards the end of the film that I sort of watched it with twisted mind and came out not surprised at all.// LOL

I can see u r quite 'conscious' when speaking about Kamal's acting. Hehe...

But kandippA time kedaikkumbOthu "A Wednesday" Parungga. :)

Rakesh Kumar said...

Thanks, Yoga for reading.Will definitely watch the Hindi original...

Bala (Karthik) said...

As I said, Kamal is cool. All he has to do is sit in front of the laptop and talk to his Bluetooth earpiece most of the time and issue instruction, stretch himself like a satisfied cat, stand by the edge of the still-under-construction building and give that demeanour of a man under control. He breaks down towards the end of the film, and wipes the tears with his revolver. Now, how cool is that?

Aniyaayathukku Rajini fan a irukkeenga baas! :twsited:

Idhukku nu avar enna marathon odi 50 push-ups edukkanuma? Illa interaction pannanum nu call center la 1000 per kooda pesanuma? Too much, i say!

Rakesh Kumar said...

Hahaha, thanks for reading Bala. 50 pushups biskoot sapuduramathiri avarukku. Kaalaiyile thinamum pannurathu-taane. But I guess you didn't get what I was trying to say there. I liked the way he presented it, as opposed to Original's too ordinary man persona who suddenly is an expert in technology.

Yoganathan.N said...

Some1 you know said...

//as opposed to Original's too ordinary man persona who suddenly is an expert in technology.//

What??? Suddenly ellAm illai. Watch out when, how and under what circumstances he (Naseer) category himself as an ordinary man. Athukku thAn mothalla, Hindi version pArungga-nu sollurathu...
Btw, Naseer won't be keeping revolver. :wink:

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