In the opening frame, the recently dismissed Hyderabad Police Commissioner - Eashwar Prasad (Daggubati Venkatesh) standing at the lakeshore, describes in a voice-over about his termination due to a common man walked into his life and turning everything topsy-turvy. This scene leads into the flashback. An unnamed man (Kamal Haasan) is shown strategically placing a travel bag within a train in a railway station, bus and in a multiplex at Hyderabad. He proceeds to place another bag, under the false pretense of lodging an FIR, in the toilet of a police station located at Lakdi-ka-pool, Hyderabad. He then arrives on the rooftop of a building under construction near Raj Bhavan road and sets up his base of operations, equipped with various modern technology gadgets and instruments. He calls up Eashwar and informs him that 5 bombs have been placed in different locations throughout Hyderabad, which are programmed to explode simultaneously within four hours. The common man demands that he would like to negotiate with a senior Government official. Eashwar seeks the services of the Chief Secretary(Lakshmi) to act as the negotiator. Eashwar 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 TV9 news reporter Shilpa Rajkumar (Anuja Iyer), telling her to reach Lakdi-ka-pool police station immediately as it is going to be "the most important day of her life".
Eashwar 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 police station. When the bomb disposal squad find the bomb, there is only 3 minutes left. The common man calls Eashwar and tells him the instructions to deactivate the bomb. Based on these, the bomb is defused. Shilpa reaches the scene on the caller's instructions and reports about the situation. There is intense debate between Eashwar 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 and the Chief Secretary also does not want to take upon the responsibility. Hence, Eashwar 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,three from charlapally jail and one from Rajhamundry 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.
Eashwar cleverly uses Shilpa 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. Eashwar'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, Eashwar is also 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 during the earlier scenes of the film; but much of the time passes without any concrete results on the identity or the location of the caller. Ultimately, Eashwar agrees with the caller's demand and puts two of his best men, Arif Khan (Ganesh Venkatraman) and Gautham Reddy (Dr. Bharath Reddy), in charge of handing over the four terrorists along with cell phones at the old Begumpet Airport (end of Runway no. 4). The caller also demands reporter Shilpa to reach the nearest police station at Begumpet. Once there, the caller confirms the identity of all the four men via a conference call with Arif and Eashwar, and then asks Arif and Gautham to unlock their handcuffs and leave them alone at a particular spot. Gautham 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. Gautham 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 Eashwar, 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 Hyderabad and other major cities of India, thus "cleaning the roach-infested house". Eashwar 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 Gautham kill Abdullah. The Chief Secretary (Lakshmi) tells Eashwar that the Chief Minister has to know about the Current Situation but Eashwar disagrees and tells her that he'll face the consequences, and orders Arif to kill the terrorist. As Shilpa 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 Eashwar looks in the hacker's computer, discovers the location and leaves abruptly towards the site.
The caller calls up Eashwar, as he is on the way, for a final time to further reveal that he had not planted any other bomb in the city. At this point, Eashwar 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. Eashwar reaches the caller's location just as the latter is leaving the place, having destroyed all his gadgets and equipment, leaving behind no evidence. The two meet briefly when Eashwar, identifying the anonymous caller on the basis of the face sketch, offers the man a ride home and introduces himself. Both shake hands, when Eashwar'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 Eashwar 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.
The film started its first filming schedule on 6 February 2009. It was a quickie that completed shooting in 65 days. The movie was released on the 19th of September. The Telugu version opened with good reviews and was successful at the Box office.
The title was changed from Thalaivan Irukkiran to Unnaipol Oruvan in early April 2009.
UTV Motion Pictures have been confirmed to distribute the film along with 'Rajkamal International', Haasan's home production company who is also producing the film. The film will be directed by Chakri, a US-based filmmaker and a close friend of Haasan. Chakri previously played the role of Govind's friend, Sai Ram in 'Dasavathaaram' and the role of a child who takes stills photographs of Kamal in the 1983 Telugu film 'Saagara Sangamam'. Neeraj Pandey provided the film's dialogue and screenplay. The music was composed by Kamal Haasan's daughter Shruthi Haasan.
Sign up and get access to some cool features. Create watchlists, check in at movies, rate them or even write whole reviews! You can also share literally everything on Moviebuff with your friends, enemies, frenemies, family, babysitter or pets. Is that enough incentive for you?