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Uncle movie cast: Mammootty, Karthika Muralidharan
Uncle movie director: Girish Damodar
Uncle movie rating: 1.5 stars
Uncle opens with violent protests by mobs across Ooty. We never really get to know what the mobs were protesting for or against. The script tries to keep us more worried about the safety of a teenager called Shruti (Karthika Muralidharan). She is stalked by random creepy men near the railway station, where she has gone hoping to find a train to her home back in Koliyakode.
As she waders onto the road cluelessly wondering how to get back to her home, an expensive white SUV pulls over next to her. It is Krishnakumar Menon (Mammootty) aka uncle. He is Shruti’s father’s ‘best friend’. Hola! Shruti’s problem solved as Krishnakumar is kind and gentle enough to drop her home in Koliyakode. She must be safe with him and now we all can go home. Except for writer Joy Mathew and director Girish Damodar relentlessly try to lead us into believing that Shruti’s safety is always in danger in the presence of Krishnakumar. And that is the point where the filmmakers lost me.
The teaser of Uncle had made it clear that the story mostly revolves around the society’s tendency to scandalize an innocent relationship. In this case, a middle-aged single man’s friendship with his friend’s daughter.
Nobody goes to cinemas prepared to see Mammootty play a role of a sexual predator. Every time the filmmakers hinted that Mammootty’s Krishnakumar maybe lusting after Shruti, I was only reminded of all the times he fought to protect women’s honor on the screen.
A newcomer or an actor who is known for playing villainous roles in the past would have made us really believe that Shruti is in real danger. Director Girish’s effort to pass Mammootty off as a threat to a girl’s safety is futile. The unconvincing casting also douses the element of suspense that the filmmakers may have imagined while writing this film.
What we all end up getting is a worried father, a bunch of drunkards backbiting about their own friend as clearly they are jealous of his popularity with women even at that age. The script also focuses on small-minded reactions of people, who throw muck on others for no good reason. In a scene, a misguided mob covers Krishnakumar’s white car with sludge in a mindless action. This symbolically sums up this story.
For nearly two hours or more, the film just goes on without any significant development. In the course of the story, the filmmakers slowly reveal that Krishnakumar is a misunderstood character. Dude. I figured that in the first 10 minutes.
The film only catches speed towards the end, when the mob of conservatives tries to moral police Krishnakumar and Shruti, who go inside the jungles for sightseeing. For a change, the leading man buckles under pressure and takes the sideline, while Shruthi’s mother (energetically played by Muthumani) takes up the task to pull up those with twisted morality, policemen included.
It feels like Girish has only cast Mammootty in this film because he wanted an actor, whose looks defied his actual age. But, he never seemed to have thought about whether he will be able to create the effect of suspense and intensity that he wanted with the star like Mammootty.
Uncle would have been gripping as a short film. But, as a feature film, it fails terribly for it only draws our attention in the last 20 minutes.