UNNAM

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Sriram Raghavan’s “Johnny Gaddar” was a critical and commercial success in Bollywood. So any attempt at a remake had to have substantial reason, material and above all something new to offer to get the audiences hooked. Sibi Mayil’s Unnam, a credited remake of Johnny Gaddar proves to be all that and a little more. For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of watching its predecessor is sure to go gag a about it. Unnam takes the same story and surprisingly adds a terrific humane angle to it which makes it grow two folds above its successor. While Johnny Gaddar’s Vikram(Neil Nitin Mukesh) appeared a cool, calculated and cold blooded adversary who was practically devoid of any emotions except the ones he had for his himself and his girlfriend, Unnam’s Aloshi (Asif Ali) has a stellar relationship with each of the charecters who he kills and every time he axes a member of the cast, the viewer gets a feel of his loss and his frustration at not being able to stop.

For all those of you who haven’t seen Johnny Gaddar, Unnam chronicles the journey of five friends who land up in the middle of a drug deal which will fetch them enough money to settle down their respected lives. One member of the crew however has need more pressing than the others and thus decides to walk away with the whole booty. He is able to overpower the team member carrying the cash but ends up killing him. Now he has to get his hands dirty with blood a lot more than he expected to keep his compatriots at bay from discovering his true motives.

Unnam grows on you from the very beginning. There is something very likeable about each of the characters and more importantly, they make us care for them. Therein lays the greatest strength of the movie. Each death comes as a shock and there is a feeling of uneasy calm after each murder. The fascinating chemistry between the group also makes the narrative gripping. There are some scenes which will leave you distraught. The scene in which the leader of the team explains his reasons for taking up the job and the subsequent scene in which he is shot by the same person for whom he had taken up the job are shattering. Then there is the sequence where a character after being shot reaches for the tape recorder just to hear his deceased wife’s melodious voice is truly affecting. Then there is the scene where the identity of the murderer is revealed and his subsequent effort to escape which will leave you exasperated.

Prashant Narayanan, Nedumundi Venu, Asif Ali, Chempil Asokan and Rajesh Hebbar shine in their respected charecters. One cannot better performance from an ensemble cast than this. Rima Kallingal shines in her role as Jenny who adds fuel to the perpetrators motives. Her performance is life like and never goes over the top.

There is a haunting soundtrack which follows the happenings all the way through. Who would expect mesmerizing classical music being played in the background as a character is shot repeatedly? The shock value comes in with the way the narrative is approached. I loved the cinematography. The camera hovers in close proximity to the characters and is able to capture important expressions in their entirety. The editing is razor sharp. As has become customary with almost every Southern flick, the production values are high with meticulous attention paid to the smaller details making Unnam a treat both technically and aesthetically.

The trend of remaking films is fast gripping both the north and southern parts of our country. However there are very few remakes which are able to match up to their originals. It wouldn’t be a far cry to say that Unnam successfully surpasses its predecessor and raises the bar of narrative a few notches up. A sure shot winner!!!

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