Film : Unnaipol Oruvan
Release Date : 18 September 2009
Main Cast : Kamal Hassan,Mohanlal
Director : Chakri Toleti
Producer : Kamal Hassan
Banner : Raajkamal Films International
Writers: : Ee.Raa.Murugan,Neeraj Pandey
Music Director : Shruti Haasan
Rview by : Unni / www.Kerala9.com
It was the Kamal Haasan-starrer ‘Kuruthi Punal’, made years back and directed by P.C.Sreeram, which had made me much prejudiced. I was not at all impressed by the way the Govind Nihalani-directed ‘Droh Kaal’ was remade. And it was this prejudiced kind of thought that led me to expect ‘Unaipol Oruvan’ to be a pale copy of the Hindi movie, ‘A Wednesday’, which was simply astounding. But, to be honest, my prejudices were all shattered. Director Chakri, Kamal Haasan and Mohanlal have teamed up to give a faithful remake of the original Nasseeruddin Shah-Anupam Kher starrer, with the message intact. As the movie was beginning, I was telling myself that in ‘Unaipol Oruvan’, it would be Kamal Haasan who’d be the hero and not the ‘aam admi’ (commom man), whom Nasseeruddin Shah had so sensitively portrayed in ‘A Wednesday’ (once again prejudiced thinking!). But it has to be pointed out that the makers left the ‘aam admi’ element intact and didn’t disrupt the total fabric of the original theme.
Well, coming to the story, it all takes place in flashback mode. Raghavan Maraar (Mohanlal), who had been the Commissioner of Police, recalls an incident that had happened earlier and changed his outlook itself. It all began with a guy (Kamal Haasan) planting explosives at certain strategic places and then calling Raghavan Maraar and asking him to release four dreaded terrorists, who are lodged in jail. Maraar, who first doesn’t know whether to believe it or not, is forced to believe the guy when he finds explosives hidden in the police station just near his office. Maraar and his men swing into action. But the guy who contacts them over phone is clever enough to leave no traces of his location. And from here the story takes off.
The highlight of the film, as told earlier, is its theme, startling and even introspective. The credit of course goes to Neeraj Pandey, who had scripted and directed ‘A Wednesday’, but the makers of ‘Unaipol Oruvan’ too deserve to be appreciated, for having dared to remake such a startling and sensitive movie. Of course those who had seen ‘A Wednesday’ may not feel that ‘Unaipol Oruvan’ is as powerful. But this may just be a misconception as you are already familiar with the theme and know what’s going to happen finally. Of course the lacks, only to some extent the tautness that the original film had, but this happens during re-makes. Remakes rarely match up to originals.
Kamal Haasan is his very usual self playing the central role and gets into the skin of the character with perfection. It’s better not to compare his performance with that of Nasseeruddin Shah. Mohanlal as Raghavan Maraar is good. Of course you may like Anupam Kher in the original better, but it’s better not to compare the two films and the performances. The others fit into their roles well.
Cinematography by Manoj Soni is good. And so is the art-work by Thotta Tharani. Editing by Rameshwar.S.Bhagat is also good.
Shruthi Haasan, the young daughter of Kamal Haasan, who recently made her acting debut with the Hindi film ‘Luck’, makes an impressive debut as music composer scoring music for ‘Unaipol Oruvan’ in a very excellent manner.
There’s nothing new or different to speak about the script here. It’s in fact almost a scene-by-scene adaptation of the original and even the dialogues are the same.
Chakri deserves to be appreciated. It’s not to be considered that a re-make director needs no talents. The director has to be in full control of things, whether it’s an original or a remake and it’s the director who makes the film or mars it. Many re-makes have been marred due to poor direction. And it’s hence that Chakri deserves to be appreciated as he has made an almost faithful remake of the original.
As a tail piece let me add something. One of my journalist friends recently remarked that if Amitabh Bachchan, who was reportedly first approached for ‘A Wednesday’, had done it, the film would have gone places and got more mileage too, on the commercial front. (No, he wasn’t underrating Nasseeruddin Shah, one of the finest actors that we have amongst us). ‘Unaipol Oruvan’ scores on this front, with Kamal Haasan having his own sway over the box office all over the South and Mohanlal being a decisive force at the Kerala box-office. Still doubts remain as to whether fans, who look for the usual commercial elements, would be satisfied with the film. The climax being greeted by booing in a release centre on day one makes you think on these lines. For a fan, it’s not the ‘aam admi’ aspect that matters. It’s the star that counts. So, how would the film fare at the box office? Let’s wait and see.
Overall verdict- Faithful remake; makes an impact!
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