Cast: Mammootty, Renjith, Shine Tom Chacko, Arjun Ashokan
Director: Khalid Rahman
Donning ‘khaki’ is not new for Malayalam superstar. He has done it several times in his illustrious acting career.
Beginning from his first role as cop, Circle Inspector Jacob Eeraly in Yavanika (1982), he has shown his versatility in police characters of diverse trajectories and flavours–Inspector Balram in Aavanazhi and its sequels, Perumal in August 1 and sequel, CI Rajan Zachariah in Kasaba to name a few.
Once again, he is at it, as sub-inspector Manikandan CP in the freshly brewed Unda.
Manikantan, fondly called Mani sir by his subordinates, leads a squad of policemen to a Maoist infiltrated area in Chhattisgarh, all the way from Kerala, for the smooth conduct of parliamentary elections. Something is weirdly off about the place and the poor cops can’t put a finger at it.
This movie arrives as a fitting tribute to a league of men serving to establish law and order during tough times. It is also a timely reminder that the military, para-military forces and hundreds of others in ‘khaki’ are putting everything on stake to conduct free and fair elections.
Mammootty’s latest offering has fancied the imagination of many from the day of announcement, thanks to its title, which means bullet. Frame after frame, the purpose of this choice gets established. It reveals how the police force faces apathy, even when it’s out on a serious mission. An arresting first half keeps the thrill quotient high. The second half waivers but then gets a grip on the audience.
Unda also marks the return of Gemini Studios banner after a long time. Unda is a collective effort mounted on Mammootty’s star power.
It was also a test of consistency for the director, Khalid Rahman. His previous film was a rom-com, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, and thus it was interesting to see his transition to a darker zone. Sharp script of Harshad, brilliant visuals of Sajith Purushan and Prashant Pillai’s music have made his job easier.
At a time when Malayalam film industry is trying its best to get closer to realistic cinema, Mammootty’s Mani sir has his heart at the right place. He also gets amazing support from Shine Tom Chacko, Arjun Ashokan, Jacob Gregory, Rony David and a handful of other fresh faces.
Unda breathes fresh air into Malayalam cinema’s police narratives and promises a ‘paisa-vasool’ outing for the audience.
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