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Uniki review: Good idea, hopeless film

The Ashish Gandhi, Chitra Shukla starrer could've been a passable investigative thriller had it paid more attention to its screenplay

1rating
  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

Last Updated: 01.49 PM, Jan 21, 2022

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Uniki review: Good idea, hopeless film
Uniki

Story:

Subbalakshmi is a young girl who does her village proud by clearing her UPSC exams and is appointed as the district collector for Kakinada. Right from day one, she means business, putting an end to corrupt practices within her office, standing tall for the needy, unfettered by warnings from goons, politicians and other influential people. One day, she is attacked by a mystery man. Subbalakshmi escapes by a whisker but the cop Abhimanyu and his friend, colleague Ajay leave no stone unturned to catch the culprit. Will they be successful in their pursuit?

Review:

Uniki is a film that mistakes a powerful position for a powerful character. With a bombastic background score to highlight her prominence, Subbalakshmi looks more like a theatre actor than a collector, instantly coming up with motivational one-liners and warnings. The film is a whodunit, where cops are on the hunt for a man who comes quite close to murdering Subbalakshmi. The premise presented a decent opportunity to keep the viewer guessing yet Uniki is so all over the place, has a terrible screenplay and you just don't care for the plot or the characters. 

The story starts with a father pompously roaming around a village, announcing that his daughter is now a collector. Subbalakshmi has who has no world beyond her duties or position. She delivers instant justice to the needy and is a messiah of sorts. When she's attacked, everyone keeps coming in a queue to wish her a quick recovery while the cops are hysterical about not finding the culprit. While the first hour is about cops eliminating one name after the other from a tentative list of attackers, the latter half is a teenage love story you are not ready for - wait for it- between the cop and the collector. 

The hunt for the attacker continues later and there's a twist you would've already foreseen from a distance. Uniki struggles to establish its characters, the ambience and for a thriller spanning over two hours, there's zilch tension in the plot. Pointless flashbacks, verbose dialogues, a comedy scene at a police station and frequent distractions derail the narrative beyond repair.

The climax is indicative of the heightened egos and insecurities between family members who can't digest each other's growth. It's a potent idea for sure, but even before you digest it, Uniki ends abruptly. The flashback episode in the second hour turns out to be a complete misfire that doesn't do anything to take the story forward. Rajkumar Bobby's filmmaking and treatment are too old-school and none of the characters lacks any personality. For a lot of time, Uniki feels like a few random scenes weaved together.

Chitra Shukla has the right screen presence to play a fiery district collector but the one-note character has no meat. Ashish Gandhi's performance is forgettable, to put it mildly. Late media personality TNR is cast in a mildly interesting role with shades of grey and he does a reasonable job within the film's limited scope. Appaji Ambarisha has nothing significant to offer in a melodramatic character. The comedy track with Tiktok star Durga Rao is entertaining but dilutes the tension immensely.

Verdict:

Skip Uniki and save yourself. There's not a single redeeming factor in the film, be it the performances, plot or execution. What should have ideally been a 30-minute long short film is stretched into a painfully lengthy feature where there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

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