Ira movie cast: Unni Mukundan, Gokul Suresh, Miya, Lena
Ira movie director: Saiju SS
Ira movie rating: 2.5 stars
Ira opens with the mysterious death of minister Chanday (Alencier Ley Lopez), who is a tainted politician, who has become the main focus of the media due to his alleged involvement scams. He suffers a heart attack during one of his regular check-ups and passes away. The police detect foul play in his death and take into custody the prime suspect Dr Aryan (Gokul Suresh).
It was under Aryan’s medical care Chanday dies unexpectedly. The post-mortem report identifies the presence of a chemical in the victim’s body and the doctors conclude that it triggered Chanday’s sudden heart attack. And a special police officer from Delhi, Rajiv (Unni Mukundan) enters the picture and begins to piece together the story of Aryan, who we are told was an orphan from Kolkata and now settled in his parents’ hometown. Debutant director Saiju SS introduces the main conflict and the key characters in the first 30 minutes of the movie.
The suspense part holds very well throughout the first half as we learn Aryan’s personal life, that mostly revolves around his budding romance with Jenny (Niranjana Anoop), who happens to be minister Chanday’s beloved granddaughter.
As Rajiv does a parallel investigation, the Kerala police are busy building a strong case against Aryan. The director has got a media frenzy running on the sideline of the narration, including wall-to-wall coverage of the investigation and prime-time debates about the high-profile murder. All these elements gel together very well and keep us entertained.
In the second half, Saiju leaves out the threads running in parallel to the murder investigation, and gets into the flashback mode. We learn about Rajiv’s backstory including his star-crossed affair with a tribal woman Karthu (Miya). The director, who has also written the thriller, has shrouded the film in the web of conspiracies, which he reveals one at a time.
At one point, when we learn that Rajiv has more legit and strong motive to seek revenge on Chanday, we wonder why no one is questioning him.
Cinematography Sudheer Surendran opts a lot of slow-motion and hero shots for Unni Mukundan, and he has the camera mostly following Gokul Suresh, which is to signify that we’re on his trail. Composer Gopi Sundar’s background music adds to the energy in the first half, but post-interval as the story takes us to jungles, the chirping sound is overdone. Where the writing fails to build the tension, Gopi tries to do the job with his music in vain.
Ira (Prey) could have passed as an innocent crime thriller if it was not so easy to link it with some real-life incidents, involving some popular individuals. Saiju’s Easter eggs in the movie are too easy to find. It’s almost criminal if one, who is aware of the investigation against Dileep, misses the movie’s links to the real events.
The director breaks away briefly from the murder mystery and adopts satire for a stretch that deals with the media frenzy around the sensational case. He has recreated an actual confrontation between Dileep and a news channel in one scene. Saiju further pushes the satire by even making Aryan speak the exact words that Dileep said to the channel in question.
Saiju does not appear to make a case for or against anyone with the film, Ira. He has simply cherry-picked interesting parts of the sensational case and embedded in his film as a bait to draw crowds to theatres in huge numbers.