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Mukundan Unni Associates review: A smartly crafted dark comedy lifted by Vineeth Sreenivasan's compelling portrayal

The writers seem to have put in a lot of work in defining even his minor quirks and that pays off in the film, one that is especially character driven.

3/5rating
Mukundan Unni Associates review: A smartly crafted dark comedy lifted by Vineeth Sreenivasan's compelling portrayal

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 08.31 AM, Nov 11, 2022

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Story: Advocate Mukundan Unni's only goal in life is to be successful. Why? Because he believes he deserves it. And to achieve that end, he is willing to take any road. After he accidentally ends up as a victim of an insurance scam that involves doctors, insurance companies, police officers and lawyers, he decides to choose the route to make it big. Standing in his way is another lawyer, who keeps minting money from tragic accidents. Mukundan schemes to enter the race and become its leader. The modes he chooses to travel and remove his obstacles while manipulating people and circumstances form the plot. 

Review: You would often find a remorseless, grey character at the centre of some of the best dark comedies. Abhinav Sunder Nayak's protagonist Mukundan Unni, a self-centred lawyer with just success on his mind, easily fits into the mould. But to make the films in this genre work, you also need a storyline that places its morally skewed character in situations where he'd go against the majority's instincts, while also carrying the audience with him or her in the ride. Abhinav aces the former and apart from a disconnect every now and then, due to focusing more on the character's even minor irritations, the film is a fairly enjoyable watch and a great directorial debut.

It's a film that travels entirely through the character, and it's not that hard to connect with Mukundan Unni either as he bases his actions on logic, all well explained and sometimes unnecessarily too. The bulk of the film revolves around Mukundan's conversations with himself and it lends for some hilarious moments, especially when you hear him say things, which is contrary to his perceived personality, out loud in his mind. His dynamics between the various other characters - be it his girlfriend Jyothi, the hospital receptionist Meenakshi, his friend Roby and even his competition Venu - also help define the man Mukundan is and truly brings out his narcissistic personality. The writers seem to have put in a lot of work in defining even his minor quirks and that pays off in the film, one that is especially character driven.

The storyline is also tight with them defining what Mukundan is chasing and the hurdles along his way. Given that about 90% of the characters in the film are grey - even the victims, it doesn't demand a hero to swoop in or a moral lesson to be thrown for the sake of it. Mukundan Unni Associates is unapologetically grey and that helps stay true to the genre. That said, a few coincidences that drive the story towards the protagonist's favour lack the surprise element, even though they were smartly planted. This makes the film stay in the same zone from start till end, with maybe just one 'accident' truly elevating it once. The sequences that hark back could have been avoided too, given it's a movie with a taut story. The setup in the second half seems too good to be true, especially when it's pulled off by one man, even one as smart and shrewd as Mukundan Unni. 

The supporting cast of the film - Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tanvi Ram, Sudhi Koppa, Arsha Baiju, George Kora, Althaf Salim and Biju Sopanam - are aptly cast and ensure the they add to Mukundan Unni's character and that too through delightful scenes that also show their personalities. Some of these, however, don't get closure - especially a hallucination.

Vineeth is the one who does all the heavylifting and that too brilliantly. Pulling off such a protagonist by maintaining a minimal body language and a deadpan expression throughout, while keeping the audience engaged throughout, is no mean feat.

The visuals of the movie, which is crisply edited, also add an extra dimension in terms of how it's experienced in theatres. Even though Vineeth doesn't break character, the movie itself sometimes does and becomes too zany for a dark comedy at times, but then as Mukundan Unni would like to believe, why limit ambitions?

Verdict: Vineeth Sreenivasan's dark comedy is elevated by its twisted protagonist even when its story flounders every now and then. Also, its visuals add another angle to its theatrical experience.

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