What to say of a movie that right at the outset, warns you to keep your moral compass aside? Right at the beginning there is a title card that says, “Human beings are mostly grey. Except in some cases. In some cases, they are just, black.” In the film, therefore, you find most of the characters being grey, except a girl who is mostly white and the main protagonist who is all black. The title might have been derived from the name of the law firm our hero Mukundan Unni sets up in the film but, in a way, it also refers to him and his partners in crime.
The story is about a struggling lawyer Mukundan in his 30s who finds it difficult to land a single case. That doesn’t stop him from dreaming big or having ambitious life goals for himself. In the title card, Vineeth Sreenivasan (who is the main lead) is spelt as Vineeth S₹eenivasan! A chance encounter with a fudging Mediclaim insurance racket in a hospital throws open the door for him. From there, how a struggling lawyer morphs into a “venomous” (I am using this word for a reason which you will understand when you watch the film) kingpin of his own syndicate, building his own ecosystem – an ecosystem that comprises ambulance drivers, fixing agents, police officials, doctors, insurance company managers, lawyers, and of course pliant patients and their relatives is the rest of the story. For most parts of the film, it is the machinations of the members of this ecosystem that keeps us engaged completely.
The screenplay is structured completely from the viewpoint of our hero and the narrative is told through his mind voice throughout the film. I thought that this was a very intelligent ploy used by the director Abhinav Sundar Nayak and is apt for a film like this. Writing by the director along with Vimal Gopalakrishnan is one of the high points of the film apart from Vineeth Sreenivasan’s acting. The characterisation of this role is complex. When you think that the character has reached his farthest point in being ruthless, he keeps going a step further. But Vineeth portrays the different stages in the character arc from a man next door to a ruthless criminal with absolute nonchalance and ease, carrying the film on his shoulders. He is well supported by the surrounding cast.
It requires a lot of courage to write a story like this for a mainstream film which I guess, can happen only in Malayalam. It also requires a lot of courage for an actor to play such a dark role which also I guess, can happen only with Mallu actors. In our habitual compulsion, one expected some kind of retribution but till the very end, you don’t get to see anything like that which was a bit disappointing. But looking back, that’s what makes the film different as well.
The film shows a mirror to the society where players are all at the end of the day motivated by their own quest for earning more and more money. For the way this theme has been treated in the film, I would put Mukundan Unni Associates as a good watch. It’s streaming on Disney Hotstar.
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