Unnaipol Oruvan (Template:Lang-en) is a 2009 Indian Tamil dramatic thriller film directed by Chakri Toleti in his directional debut. It stars Kamal Haasan and Mohanlal in the lead roles. The film was simultaneously made in Telugu as Eeenadu with Venkatesh playing Mohanlal's role, both remakes of the Hindi film A Wednesday! (2008). A Wednesday! was remade a second time with a British cast in 2013 as A Common Man.
The film tells the story of I.G. Raghava Maraar (Mohanlal) who gets an anonymous call. The caller (Kamal Haasan) demands that he release militants in exchange for information about many bombs planted across Chennai. The caller is serious as the police find a bomb planted very close to their headquarters. The commissioner is later cornered between releasing militants who had been responsible for killing innocent people and stopping bomb blasts around the city. Whatever he chooses forms the rest of the plot. Unnaipol Oruvan received positive reviews from the critics and was a commercial success. It was dubbed into Malayalam as Oru Budhanazhcha (A Wednesday in Malayalam language)
Template:Plot In the opening frame, the recently dismissed police commissioner of Chennai, I.G. Raghavan Maraar (Mohanlal), standing at the seashore, describes in a voice-over about his termination due to a common man who walked into his life and turned everything topsy-turvy. This scene leads into the flashback. An unnamed man (Kamal Haasan) is shown strategically placing a travel bag in a train in the Chennai Central railway station and in a shopping mall. He proceeds to place another bag, under the false pretense of lodging an FIR, in the toilet of a police station in Anna Salai, Chennai. He then arrives on the rooftop of an under-construction building and sets up his base of operations, equipped with modern gadgets and instruments. He calls up Maraar and informs him that five bombs have been planted in locations throughout Chennai, which are programmed to explode simultaneously within four hours. The common man demands that he would like to negotiate with a senior government official. Maraar seeks the services of the chief secretary (Lakshmi) to act as the negotiator. Maraar also alerts his team involved in intelligence research and surveillance, tapping all the available resources in gathering preliminary information and tracing the location of the caller. Meanwhile, the caller tips off television news reporter Natasha Rajkumar (Anuja Iyer), telling her to reach Anna Salai police station immediately as it is going to be "the most important day of her life".
Maraar initially suspects the anonymous caller to be bluffing, but his doubts are dispelled as the caller, to prove his seriousness and the police force's helplessness, reveals that a bomb has been planted in the Anna Salai police station. When the bomb disposal squad find the bomb, there is only three minutes left. The common man calls Maraar and tells him the instructions to deactivate the bomb. Based on these, the bomb is defused. Natasha reaches the scene on the caller's instructions and reports about the situation. There is intense debate between Maraar and the chief secretary on who would act as the negotiator with the common man. The chief minister does not want to get into this; the chief secretary does not want to take upon the responsibility. Hence, Maraar himself takes on the role of the negotiator with the common man. The common man demands the release of four terrorists — Abdullah, Inayadullah, Ahamadullah and Karamchand Lala — who have been involved in and arrested for many of the major terrorist attacks and activities that have happened in the country during the previous decade.
Maraar cleverly uses Natasha to fake a report on live television that four terrorists are being relocated to an undisclosed common site, turning the caller's tool back onto him. Maraar's men find out that the caller is using advanced software to automatically switch the numbers and locations of his mobile phone SIM card every minute, rendering their manpower and the obsolete equipment useless and prompting them to employ the services of a young hacker, who turns out to be an IIT dropout. In the meantime, Maraar is able to obtain a facial composite of the caller with help of the police officer to whom the caller had approached to lodge the fake FIR, but much of the time passes without any concrete results on the identity or the location of the caller. Ultimately, Maraar agrees with the caller's demand and puts two of his best men, Arif Khan (Ganesh Venkatraman) and Sethuraman (Bharath Reddy), in charge of handing over the four terrorists at the Sozhavaram airstrip. Once there, the caller confirms the identity of the four men via a conference call with Arif and Maraar. He then asks Arif and Sethu to unlock their handcuffs and leave them alone at a particular spot. Sethu orders his men to do as told but, at the last moment, Arif decides not to hand over Abdullah to ensure all the information regarding the locations of the bombs can be forced out from the caller. Sethu argues with Arif and demands he do as ordered, but Arif forcefully grabs the terrorist and starts walking away.
As they leave behind the remaining three, the caller, unaware of the ongoing fiasco, uses a cell phone placed in a rigged jeep at the spot to detonate an explosion in which all the three terrorists perish. Arif relays this information to Maraar, which is confirmed by the anonymous caller as he reveals that he is just a "stupid common man", not belonging to any terrorist outfit, and his plan was not to free the terrorists but to kill them, avenging all the terrorist attacks they had helped carry out in Coimbatore and other major cities of India, thus "cleaning the roach-infested house". Maraar tries to reason with him and tries to find out his religion, the justification for this action, any personal incidents that prompted him to take such an action etc. The common man narrates an incident of how a Muslim woman was being tortured and molested by communal people. The common man also says that he can take actions for the sufferings meted out to people from other communities too. The caller threatens to blow up the remaining bombs across the city unless Arif and Sethu kill Abdullah. The Chief Secretary (Lakshmi) tells Maraar that the Chief Minister has to know about the Current Situation but Maraar disagrees and tells her that he'll face the consequences, and orders Arif to kill the terrorist. As Natasha reports the scene on television, the young hacker traces the caller's location but refuses to reveal it saying that the caller was actually "brainy", and compared to him, the hacker was only one among the billions. But Maraar looks in the hacker's computer, discovers the location and leaves abruptly towards the site.
The caller calls up Maraar as he is on his way, for a final time, to further reveal that he had not planted any other bomb in the city. At this point, Maraar surprisingly declares he already knew there were no more bombs which makes it clear that his decision to kill the last terrorist wasn't taken in fear but in confidence. Maraar reaches the caller's location just as the latter is leaving the place, having destroyed all his gadgets and equipments, leaving behind no evidence. The two meet briefly when Maraar, identifying the anonymous caller on the basis of the face sketch, offers the man a ride home and introduces himself. Both shake hands, when Maraar's voice-over cuts back as he says the man told him his real name but his name doesn't have any significance. The film ends on an idealistic note, with Maraar admitting that they all knew the common man was disturbed because of the insecure environment and the incompetence of the governing authorities but he never imagined him to go to such lengths and have the guts to do something like that. He also repeats that the facts of this incident cannot be found in any written record but only in the memories of those who actually witnessed it, and acknowledges that although the incidence has ambiguous moral significance, he personally feels that whatever happened, happened for the best.
- Kamal Haasan as the unnamed caller / common-man
- Mohanlal as I. G. Raghava Maraar
- Lakshmi as Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu
- Ganesh Venkatraman as Arif Khan
- Bharath Reddy as Sethuraman
- Anuja Iyer as Natasha Rajkumar
- Poonam Kaur as Anu Sethuraman
- Santhana Bharathi as Karamchand Lala
- Sriman as Arvind Adhavar
- Anand Krishnamoorthi as Arun the Hacker
While Kamal Haasan was cast in the lead role; confirmation of Mohanlal's presence in the film followed. Ganesh Venkatraman, who debuted in the 2008 film Abhiyum Naanum, was later confirmed for a supporting role. Bharath Reddy, who played a cop in the Telugu film Siddam, is playing another supporting cop role.
UTV Motion Pictures distributed the film along with Rajkamal International, Haasan's home production company, which produced it. Unnaipol Oruvan was directed by Chakri, a US-based filmmaker and a close friend of Haasan. Chakri had previously played the role of Govind's friend, Sai Ram, in Dasavathaaram, and the role of a child who takes still photographs of Kamal in the 1983 Telugu film Saagara Sangamam. Neeraj Pandey wrote the film's dialogue and screenplay. The music was composed by Kamal Haasan's daughter, Shruthi Haasan.
The title was changed from Thalaivan Irukkiran to Unnaipol Oruvan in early April 2009. Recent news in 2012 confirms that Thalaivan Irukkiran is a different film altogether, that is touted to be a multistarrer.
Unnaipol Oruvan started its first filming schedule on 6 February 2009. It completed shooting in 65 days.
It was initially set to release on 12 August 2009, since the date coincided with the release of Kamal Haasan’s first film Kalathur Kannamma and his entry into Tamil cinema in 1959, marking 2009 as Haasan's 50th year in cinema. However, owing to technical and administrative difficulties, the release was postponed to 18 September. The film was given a U/A (Parental Guidance) rating from the Central Board of Film Certification, mainly because of its theme — terrorism.
Unnaipol Oruvan received positive reviews from the critics. Sify said that technically the film was picture-perfect and that both Kamal Hassan and Mohanlal coming together is worth the ticket money. It mentioned that unlike in the Hindi version where Naseeruddin Shah had an edge over Anupam Kher, here the best dialogues were almost equally given to Mohanlal as well.
Behindwoods rated that overall it was a brilliant work which will be appreciated by every socially responsible citizen of India. Indiaglitz commented that Unnaipol Oruvan deserves to be watched to see how Kamal & Mohanlal pit against Nasser & Kher. Kollywood Today praised that the movie was stupendously awesome and was a must-watch. Pavithra Srinivasan of rediff.com provided 4 stars and also had the same comments.
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