First there was Strawberry. Then there was Maya. And then, for the third consecutive week this September, there was another horror film – Unakkenna Venum Sollu. Maya won itself rave reviews (especially Nayanthara’s performance), while Strawberry offered precious little to nibble on. But Unakkenna Venum Sollu has swung the (ghostly) pendulum yet again, with a refreshingly positive portrayal of ghosts and solid performances. Its impressive trailer gave us a glimpse of an intriguing script and excellent visual work. And the movie doesn’t disappoint.
Shiva (Gunalan Morgan) and Pooja (Jaqlene Prakash) are a couple. Lovely and in love. They are devoted to their ailing child, Abi. The local doctors tell them to take the child to Chennai for better treatment. But, there’s something in Pooja’s past, something about Chennai. She is dead against going. But the news of her best friend’s suicide catalyses her family to move to Chennai. And that’s when Pooja and Shiva’s encounter with the supernatural begin.
The subplot revolves around Karthik (Deepak Paramesh) and Judy (Mourhrna Anetha), who in the same time, have met and fallen for each other’s charms. Karthik also come in contact with ghostly experiences in Judy’s house.
What is the spirit trying to convey? Will Shiva and Pooja have a fairy tale ending? Will Abi recover?
The answers to these questions unfold in the second half of Unakkenna Venum Sollu.
The movie begins slowly. There’s all the alternating background stories of Shiva-Pooja and Karthik-Judy. The only hitch is that none of the scenes actually have any kind of ending. Situations leap around haphazardly. For instance, Karthik and Judy meet each other on their first date. Midway, we are suddenly looking at Shiva-Pooja. That’s it. Loose ends swing around wildly, and the main plot trudges on.
About 10 minutes before the intermission, the spooky begins to develop. There was definite jitteriness among the audience. And the credit for that goes to Mime Gopi, who plays the role of ghost rider (Mathew). Mime Gopi’s acting is excellent. The only problem – he played a very similar role in Maya. It would be nice if he did something different in his next film.
But, interval jitters aside, for all its promotion as a sentimental-horror film, there was a lot more sentiment and a lot less horror.
At one point, Pooja makes a confession to her husband, about a past indiscretion. Shiva’s response is mature and controlled. He exudes forgiveness, and adds that he doesn’t care about her past. It’s a massively refreshing change to see a husband take his wife’s past in his stride. And yes, it’s equally great when the wife shows equal empathy.
During the press meets, director Srinath had emphasised that the film would tackle issues that society is prejudiced against. The film is certainly a clear reflection of his thoughts. A live-in relationship, father-daughter camaraderie, a relationship between two best friends, and unabashed love between a husband and a wife are all portrayed with finesse by the lead cast. Music director Siva Saravana’s re-recording and BGM are a definite plus to the movie.
Best of all, the eerie silence and the jolting sounds indicating the arrival of the ghost, worked.
Like Mysskin’s Pisaasu, Srinath Ramalingam too has broken the mould of typecasting ghosts as just revenge seeking spirits. (Fact: 99% of horror movies do this.) Instead, we have some depth (albeit of the translucent kind) and complexity. And a positive portrayal of ghosts.
The use of hypnotherapy during the climax is intriguing, but too brief. Srinath Ramalingam ties the knots in the first half, and does an excellent job of untangling them in the second half. Yet, one can’t help but wonder what a little more trimming and cohesion might have done for Unakkenna Venum Sollu.
The Unakkenna Venum Sollu Review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.