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Thriller but slow

KAUSALYA SANTHANAM

The build-up was convincing but what Augusto's ``Unmai Sambavam" lacked was tempo.



MURDER MYSTERY: "Unmai Sambavam."

"Unmai Sambavam," written and directed by Augusto, has an interesting beginning. A reporter of a reputed journal is asked by his editor to investigate an unusual incident. David Muthu, a criminal sentenced to be hanged for multiple murders, is claiming to be Aravind, a young man who was recently killed in a road accident.

Thomas, an IPS officer, has been appointed special officer for the case. When the reporter visits the apartment block where Aravind and his wife Kavitha lived, he meets Ganesan, a do-gooder and a concerned neighbour of the young couple.

Through Ganesan, the reporter comes to know of many events in the life of the couple who shared a wonderful relationship. Weaving in and out of the play is the criminal lawyer Suri.

While the police officer is sure that David Muthu is playing a deep game masquerading as the deceased, the others are not so sure. The uncanny knowledge that the criminal displays about the life of the deceased brings about confusion and conflict in their minds. So well does he recollect incidents in their life that Kavitha is placed in a dilemma. Could this really be her late husband? Can the supernatural sometimes be the real?

Strength of the play

The play's strength lay in the fact that the build up was convincing. But the wrapping up was unconvincing and hasty leaving questions too sketchily answered.

The play was a slow thriller! Did the music set the tempo or was the speed decided by the tune? It moved along at the most leisurely pace making the viewer fidgety.

The spotlight was focussed on the garrulous and annoying character of Ganesan (K. S. Palani). A stronger or more sinister character would have been a better choice.

The actors played their roles well, especially Aditya as the diabolic Muthu and Soundarya as the intelligent Kavitha though she could refrain from constantly adjusting the folds of her sari. The playing of a particular cassette, to denote harmony, was a syrupy ploy.

As for the sets, the newspaper office, with its patchy walls and curtain hanging askew, was an eyesore. The prison sets though much better looked far too glossy and new, as if they had been constructed just the day before.

Augusto Creations' "Unmai Sambavam," staged recently at the Narada Gana Sabha, is a play to while away a rainy evening. Its impact is felt only as long as it lasts — like many other whodunits.

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