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Times of India
A group of people find themselves stuck in a lift and they face the challenge of jointly solving the mysterious death of a woman who is somehow connected to them.
'Up and Down Mukalil Oralundu' deftly deals with a series of formidable challenges. It leaves a group of people in a suffocating, claustrophobic state for a prolonged period and lets them engage not just the viewers but themselves even without moving an inch. The characters are mostly static, silent and suffering and their actions of the past fill their present crisis with guilt, remorse and tension.
On a special day for a flat-residents association, a senior cop, two couples, a tipsy writer, a lift-operator and a noisy, fretful man get stuck in a lift. The presence of a child in the lift suddenly leads to curious queries about his parenthood. At times, the lift jolts frighteningly that there is enough to scare the group and induce panic that could break down to a perennial flow of grief.
But Rajiv Kumar steers the story through another path and characters do not resort to loud, unpleasant cries. Rather, they talk frantically about sweat, lack of air and much more. A man dressed up as Gandhiji for the drama, to be staged on the day and heavily damp with sweat, finally discovers why the father of nation always walked shirtless. The lift-operator fiddles with the buttons and when the others ask if he knows what he is doing, he replies coldly: "No, but I thought if you see me doing something, it could give you some comfort."
Indugopan dialogues are smart and he ensures that his light-hearted touches don't alleviate the mounting tension that is about to follow. Trapped inside the lift, these people would also confront the murder of a woman along with a cop. The reasons, answers and surmises - all spring up and die down right inside the lift. The cinematography in this film never settles down with probing close-ups, high-angles and sometimes even staying aloof as though surveying everything like an invisible force.
There are a few rough edges to this well-written narrative like how the body of a woman got dumped in the lift which is shown fully occupied the other night. Slip-ups in this film can be easily over-looked for it meets its purpose of pitting a set of people in an enclosure and letting them unravel each other. Up and Down comes across as a good-watch despite minor, negligible doubts it leaves behind.