Synopsis: A rich businesswoman is murdered and her body goes missing, putting her husband high on the investigating cop's suspect list.
Review: A rainy night. A missing dead body. An adulterer husband. A damsel-in-distress lover. A no-nonsense cop. These are the elements that AMR Ramesh uses to set up Oru Melliya Kodu, a whodunit that manages to kick up a certain amount of intrigue and eeriness before unconvincingly pulling off a twist ending.
Though the pre-release buzz around Oru Melliya Kodu has revolved around it being inspired by the Sunanda Pushkar murder case, the actual inspiration — which is sadly unacknowledged — is a Spanish film titled El Cupero (The Body). Maaya (Manisha Koirala, looking too old and tired), an ultra-rich biotech entrepreneur, has been found dead, but before a post mortem can be performed, the body goes missing from the morgue. In the middle of the night. In pouring rains. Meanwhile, oblivious to all this, Maaya's husband, Akshay (Shaam, convincing) is busy romancing Bhoomi (Aqsa Bhatt, passable). Enter Shakthi Vel (Arjun, effective), a cop who has been asked to handle the case. He brings in Akshay for interrogation, and the young man, with his reticent behaviour, soon finds himself as the prime suspect.
For more than an hour into Oru Melliya Kodu, AMR Ramesh manages to keep the suspense surrounding the missing body intact. Is it really Akshay who has killed his wife and stolen her body? Is Maaya staging the entire episode to get back at her unfaithful husband? Is it Bhoomi who might be playing her own game? Or, has Maaya returned as a ghost to take revenge against Askhay and Bhoomi? What does Shakthi Vel got to do with this mystery? He makes us ask all these questions as he moves from one scene to the next, all the while holding his cards close to his chest. The cinematography is also full of weird, unsettling angles and frames and we even get a gritty gross-out scene that nods at Danny Boyle's Trainspotting as Akshay eats an incriminating piece of evidence after trying to flush it out in the loo.
Meanwhile, we are given glimpses into Maaya's life when she was alive. How she and Akshay, who is younger to her, became a couple, how did Akshay fall for Bhoomi and so on. These characters are presented in a way that shows us what each one is capable of.
But after a point, the tension starts to dissipate (not just because of the unnecessary songs), and by the time we come to the reveal — a twist that arrives without any bit of foreshadowing to make it seem well-earned — we feel kind of cheated. Worse, the film starts to come across as a PSA against drunken driving. It is a pity that the film fails to cross that melliya kodu between being 'not boring' and 'compelling enough'.