Underworld, the Asif Ali thriller, marks the comeback of editor-filmmaker Arun Kumar Aravind after a 2-years-long hiatus. The editor turned director, who is best known for his expertise in handling the multi-layered narratives, has chosen to tell the story of 4 men in the backdrop of Underworld this time. According to Arun Kumar, this movie has no heroes, but the protagonists are characters with well-defined grey shades.
Did the Asif Ali-Arun Kumar Aravind movie succeed in impressing the viewers? Read Underworld movie review here to know...
Stalin John (Asif Ali), a culprit befriends ex-minister Padmanabhan Nair (Mukesh), who is sentenced for accepting bribe, in the jail. Stalin slowly emerges as Nair's confidante. Later, Nair realises that Solomon (Jean Paul Lal), who was supposed to keep the bribe money safe, conned him.
With the help of Stalin John and another jail inmate named Gunda Majeed (Farhaan Fazil), Padmanabhan Nair hatches a plan to retrieve the bribe money, 500 Crore Dollars. How the trio succeeds in their plan forms the crux of the story.
Script & Direction
Director Arun Kumar Aravind and scriptwriter Shibin Francis have created a movie which is primarily a crime drama. But Underworld also falls into various other genres at certain points, which negatively affects the overall narrative. The ruthlessness and lack of morality in the big bad underworld is portrayed with conviction, and it works well. But at the same time, the narrative uses the biggest clichés used in cinema since ages to carry the plot forward, which is a major let down.
Some of the characters and situations looked totally forced and unnecessary in the plot. At certain points in the first half, the movie drifts away from the core plot, thus failing to keep the audiences engaged. The climax portion lacks the much-needed crispiness and conviction. All these factors and excessive length (2 hours 40 minutes) makes the movie enjoyable only at parts.
Asif Ali, who plays Stallin John, delivers an excellent performance and instantly connects with the audiences. Asif's immense growth as an actor is totally visible in his matured performance. Mukesh, the senior actor delivers one of the finest performances of his career as Padmanabhan Nair. His brilliant portrayal of the corrupt politician once again reminds us that he is the most underused talents of Malayalam cinema.
Jean Paul Lal, the director who makes his acting debut with Underworld, shines as the ruthless antagonist Solomon. Farhaan Fazil, who appears as Gunda Majeed, has also played his part very well. Samyuktha Menon and Ketaki Narayanan, who play Stallin John and Majeed's romantic interests respectively, have nothing much to do in their under-written roles. The rest of the star cast, including Srikanth Murali and Muthumani have played their respective roles well.
Alex J Pulickal's decent cinematography makes the movie a visually appealing experience. The editing is not up to the mark, as the narrative includes several unnecessary elements which needed a trim, and the movie is excessively lengthy.
The songs, which are composed by Yakzan Gary Pereira-Neha Nair duo and written by Sam Mathew are impressive. The background score is decent.
Underworld succeeds in impressing audiences at parts, thus ending up as an average movie experience. Give it a try of you are a fan of Asif Ali and Arun Kumar Aravind.