10 September 2010

Unnai Pol Oruvan - Review

It's about time I revealed to you my extreme admiration for this person called Kamal Haasan. I like him. For the simple reason that he is the only person with an unparalleled amount of courage that I would say almost no one else in the Tamil film industry has. The only other guy who has the same kind of courage is director Bala. But then he only has his directorial position at stake, while this guy, this Kamal Haasan, has everything, and I mean everything, riding on each and every one of his projects!

Okay, you don't have to be a genius to know that I am practically gushing here! I never express my liking for any film industry personality like this, because, the only thing that most people have going for them is their short-lived 'make-up enhanced' good looks and a couple of box office hits. This man, though, gets my respect and vote even when everything he makes is a HUGE FLOP! Particularly thinking of "Aazhavandhaan" here.

Some people say he should have been in Hollywood, rather than Kollywood. I have to disagree. He doesn't need to be in Hollywood! He is destined to be here, in South India, to tell people that you can and should make films that enhance some aspect of the viewers intellect. That you should take risks, put your neck on the line, and take your artistry to a higher, albeit precarious level. If you don't do that when you are popular and the industry is feeding off your hands, then when will you do it?!

Okay, what brought on this fever? I saw Unnai Pol Oruvan (translates to A Man Just Like You...or The Common Man) This movie is the Tamil remake of the Hindi movie A Wednesday, starring another real hero - Naseeruddin Shah.
I am not going to tell you the storyline, because, well, it can be said in one line! And I would give away the ending. If for some reason you haven't already seen it yet, I don't want to ruin the experience for you. And mind you, it is very much an experience.

Something interesting about this movie is that the hero remains seated for most of the movie, and only moves about at the end of the movie to...well...take his grocery home!

This movie has many layers of sub-text. In fact, it is all about the sub-text. Political influences, terrorism, the nations seeming apathy towards terrorism, ego clashes between the powers that be in politics and law enforcement, the freedom of the press (or what it really means!), and finally, if you notice very carefully, the tug-of-war that has been happening between two southern states from time immemorial - Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Oh! Almost forgot...this movie also re-awakened another perennial argument - 'Who's the better actor: Mohanlal or Kamal Haasan?'

Kamal Haasan would probably answer you, in his throaty non-chalant, eye-rolling way, "No one is the better actor! It is the story that makes us the better or worse actor. Look at the story. We are just vehicles for the message." Or something equally awesome like that!!

If you were to ask, 'who is the hero of the movie', you wouldn't get an answer either! The character of I.G Raghavan Maarar (played by Mohanlal) seems to play the hero to the dominant villain in the common man, with no name (Kamal Haasan). Suddenly things shift, and the police officers who are to escort the terrorists seem to be taking the story in a different direction. In this way, every character in the story seems to hold a twist in their hands - the chain-smoking journalist (a woman, if you were wondering), the terrorists themselves (one a Muslim fanatic, another a Tamilian simply in it for the money, and two others in between), the CM's chief secretary (played by Lakshmi) and even for a brief but electrifying moment, the voice of the Tamil Nadu CM himself! And when I say 'himself' you know exactly whom I mean....Digression: Isn't it strange that the Tamilian people are forced to choose from one 'himself' and one 'herself' every elections, and cannot even think of a third option!!! End of Digression.

So, where were we? Yeah, the stars of the story....the point is, there are none. This movie is not meant for you to adore/drool/whistle at/hate/love/dance with/die for any actor! Kamal allows every character to do what they need to do to get the message across: "If the government will not deal with terrorism, then the common man will. After all, it is the common man who loses his life when terrorism runs rampant. Terrorism can be destroyed only by terrorism!" 

Now, if that's not a bold statement, I don't know what is! Watch the movie, will you? It will give you a sense of pride in being the common man, for a change!


Karen Xavier said...

Yeah, so ture. Kamal is the only tamil artist I respect... he dares to be different. This movie was good too. I liked Anbe Sivam better.

Jane Hamilton said...

yeah Karen, 'Anbe Sivam' was spine-chilling good! Especially Kamal's face after the accident.

Only he dares to mess up his face this badly! Almost ugly...

Like you said - Daring!

Anonymous said...

Wow! U have mirrored my thoughts abt the film as well as Kamal....glad to find out that u r a kamal fan.....I watched this movie more than twice...each time it makes sure to give me a complete satisfaction..like the one we get after watching a gud hollywood movie....with common sense and no nonsense....and "Anbe Sivam" is one of my all time favorite....n I feel proud to say dat he is the only artist who can make me cry my heart out and also can me me ROFL...."Pesum Padam", Michael mathana kama Rajan, Pancha Thanthiram, Kathala kathala....few films..i wud always like to see to lighten my spirit....

Jane Hamilton said...

@dazzlingray, +1 !! :)

neethu said...

As u said it is the remake of

"A Wednesday" wch bagged all

popular awards for Best Story

that year.The film was

acclaimed a lot aftr dat and

Kamal Hassan decided to remake

it in Tamil.I got the chance

to watch Unnaipol Oruvan and

Kamal Hassan was simple and

Best as ever. The movie ended

up leaving goosebumps in

me.Personally i feel most of

the regional TV Channels

failed to showcase the depth

of 26/11 attack in Mumbai.Well

said Jane.. Terrorism can be

destroyed only by terrorism!
Fab Job!!

Haddock said...

All said and done he (Kamal) is a fine actor. Has seen some of his old Tamil and Hindi movies. Its a pity that Bollywood did not recognise his acting prowess.

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