‘Mukundan Unni Associates’ movie review: A darkly funny take on a man obsessed with material success

The themes explored — which in another movie might have been treated in a dark, sombre mood — get an uproariously humorous treatment by film editor-turned-director Abhinav Sunder Nayak and co-writer Vimal Gopalakrishnan

November 11, 2022 03:03 pm | Updated 03:23 pm IST

Vineeth Sreenivasan in ‘Mukundan Unni Associates’

Vineeth Sreenivasan in ‘Mukundan Unni Associates’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

When Mukundan Unni purchases a car with an air-bag only for the driver, one would assume that he is thinking just about the lesser cost. But, only much later would one realise that his crooked mind might have been plotting yet another devious plan, when he made that decision. The man is so ruthless and devoid of empathy, that he is capable of pushing even those closest to him by the wayside or harming them.

There is quite some irony in casting in this role someone like Vineeth Sreenivasan, who is known for his warm, feel-good brand of movies, where even the villains at times display a virtuous heart. On the contrary, Unni, an advocate who specialises in fake accident claims, has drained out his last bit of kindness. His relentless inner voice, which keeps appearing throughout the movie, tells us that he has followed the maxims of hard work and perseverance in an effort to be successful, but success has eluded him even in his mid-30s.

He is so obsessed with this specific idea of success that no action is beyond him. The way the script sets up the evolution of this character, from smaller fraudulent acts to something which most people would not even dare think of, makes us believe that he is capable of anything, even making us fear for the lives of those around him. But the ones around him are no saints either; not even Meenakshi (Arsha Baiju), the hospital receptionist he falls in love with (as part of another cold, calculated move to aid his business).

Mukundan Unni Associates
Director: Abhinav Sunder Nayak
Cast: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Arsha Baiju, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tanvi Ram
Storyline: Unni, an advocate who specialises in fake accident claims, is obsessed with success and has drained out his last bit of kindness

He is rather fitting himself into a corrupt ecosystem, consisting of pliant doctors, policemen, ambulance drivers and security men, and turning it further evil, out of his own image. The character, in his unapologetic ruthlessness to climb up the ladder, is so reminiscent of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in Nightcrawler, who supplies video footage of violent events to local news stations.

Yet, all of these acts — which in another movie might have been treated in a dark, sombre mood — gets an uproariously humorous treatment by film editor-turned-director Abhinav Sunder Nayak and co-writer Vimal Gopalakrishnan. It is a choice that conveys the theme more effectively. Even amid all the revulsion that some of his actions evoke in us, we laugh at his tricks, often at the expense of an unsuspecting person. The one downside is that in concentrating on this one aspect of his personality, we are at times served with scenes that might seem repetitive.

The only ones in the film with their moral compass intact are his friend, his former girlfriend and a judge, and none of them achieve “success”, as defined by the likes of Mukundan Unni. The script does not make any moral judgments, nor does it force fit a “positive” climax to deliver a message.

But, in the end, Mukundan Unni Associates does become a biting commentary on the many who have made it big through nefarious ways, even though it does not say this in so many words.

Mukundan Unni Associates is currently running in theatres

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