A man running on a deserted road at night collapses out of exhaustion. He gets up with much difficulty and continues to limp. We notice that he has left behind a gun and a puddle of blood. The man is then seen lying on the road. People, even though they stop to see him, still alive and fighting his death, move past, carrying on with their tasks. Some sympathise with him but no one shows the will to hospitalise him. One person even clicks a photo to post on Facebook! Like this, the film takes a jab at society many times for its insensitiveness, double standards and lack of empathy.
Then enters Chandru, a medical student who takes pity on the dying man and rushes him to the hospital on his bike. The hospital refuses to take him in, citing the bullet wound and the police procedures involved. The police are too lethargic to even take the procedure forward. Chandru, with his earnest attempt to save a fellow human being, takes the dying man to his room and operates on him. But to his utter shock, the man has vanished in the morning! And thus begins Onayum Aatukuttiyum.
Onayum Aatukuttiyum, translated as A Wolf and a Lamb is a dark, neo-noir, suspense thriller written and directed by Myskkin. This cynical fable is a redemption story of a criminal called Wolf, who murdered 14 people, and his former crime boss and the police, who want to destroy him and his desire to do something good.
Myskkin successfully questions our stereotypical perceptions of the different people we see. The police misbehave with a transgender sex worker, a doctor is asked to kill another human being, a criminal speaks about loyalty – such scenes ask us to think beyond our boundaries. The film shakes the basic foundation of our society, its conscience and morality through its unique dark humour, minimal dialogues and characters in extreme situations. When Chandru doesn’t cooperate with police when they ask him to kill Wolf, they blackmail him and he has to finally abide. But as he understands Wolf and his intentions more, Chandru isn’t sure if he should kill Wolf or to help him in his endeavour. He even becomes doubtful of the righteousness of law and order of our system.
The film constantly stirs our emotion, thanks to the heart-churning musical scores by the maestro Ilayaraja. The cinematography by Balaji Ranga is top-notch, as the major part of the film takes place during a single night around the dark and deserted streets of Chennai.
The film hands us a mirror to look at ourselves and questions our perception of right and wrong. Once you finish watching, nothing will remain black and white.
Onayum Aatukuttiyum is available on Hotstar.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.