Under World is a movie that has its discrete moments of gangster swagger. Writer Shibin Francis is trying to place a typical Hollywood style gangster thriller in the backdrop of Kerala. While the predictability and the occasional over the top sequences drag this Arun Kumar Aravind movie backward, the aspiration to be a true blue gangster flick will make you go soft on the movie. Underworld is an okay movie that has the usual conflicts and complications of a gangster thriller with bloodshed.
Stalin John is our central protagonist. He has taken a theatre for lees and is running another business inside it. His rivals plot everything against him and Stalin eventually ends up in Jail. But in jail, Stalin happens to meet a political figure named Padmanabhan Nair who was looking for someone to manage his illegal deeds. The collaboration of these two people and the aftermath of all that is the basic story of Under World.
Under World is definitely engaging because of the way the two tracks in the movie are moving ahead aggressively. But the swagger is never getting that high one would expect. I didn’t tend to hate this movie at any point, but the feeling was that it could have been easily a better film than this. The character of Solomon played by Lal Jr has saved his wife’s name as Harley Quinn on his phone and he is ruthless enough to cut one’s hand just to show his craziness. The one good thing about Shibin Francis’ script is that he has managed to create memorable characters. Every character here is going through an arc of events and this universe of gangsters becomes memorable for us. The problem is with the story. The slicing of Arun Kumar Aravind is definitely adding swagger to the film, but that x-factor which elevates the movie and adds a sense of adrenalin rush is missing here.
When I saw Asif Ali long back in Asuravithu, I felt the guy was a wrong choice for that character as his image never fitted that kind of role. But in Under World, Asif is truly in command of his character Stalin. His body language and attitude can make you believe that Stalin is that fearless persona. And to make it more believable Arun Kumar Aravind constructs that character as a guy who is more of a confident person than a physically macho guy. Farhan Faasil takes his own sweet time to get in sync with that character and towards the end, he reaches that desired level. Mukesh as Padmanabhan Nair is a really refreshing visual. The character explores a really subtle side of the actor that has got utilized very rarely. I loved the character development of Solomon played by Lal Jr. But in terms of acting when Solomon becomes slightly more animated, Lal Jr. loses the grip over the character. Muthumani, Meghanathan, Sreelakshmi, Sreekanth Murali, etc. were good in their respective roles.
Arun Kumar Aravind the editor is more predominant here in my opinion. Because apart from the setting of the movie, the only thing that captivates you is the pacing of the film. Within the elaborate 160 minutes of run time, he has managed to create that world of characters. Even the minimally visible romantic angles in the movie play a role in shaping a story to the two characters. Having said that, I really felt that the whole bike stunt sequence should have been done in a better way. Shibin Francis is not really investing in creating a gripping story using the nicely fleshed out characters. Everything is getting wrapped up in the end in a rather hasty way rather than making us feel the coolness or the cold-bloodedness of those moves. Alex J Pulickal has done the cinematography of the movie and the work truly blends with the mood of the movie. The score by Neha and Yakzan also amps up the feel.
Under World is far from perfect and has its own issues when you look at the writing part of the movie. But despite the inconsistency, the characters and the pacing of the film keeps you engaged in the film. Under World is that watchable flick that wanted to be quirky but couldn’t really achieve that aspect.
Despite the inconsistency, the characters and the pacing of the film keep you engaged in the film. Under World is that watchable flick that wanted to be quirky but couldn’t really achieve that aspect
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended