Thrill-a-minute is the calling card of this unpretentious film which plays to the gallery. Superbly choreographed action and song sequences, fast moving storyline laced with Vadivelu’s comedy, romance and subtle sentiments - all make this film a festival treat.
Don’t expect any surprises in the plot or treatment. It is a faithful remake of Puri Jagannath’s Telugu Pokiri. Remember that Puri the master copy cat had taken the plot from the Hollywood gangster thriller Dannie Brasco (1997) featuring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino.
Tamizh(Vijay) is ruthless, fearless hit man in Chennai underworld. He climbs the mafia ladder much to the dislike of other members in the gang. But he has some principles in the job as he never does any harm to ladies or children. He sees Sruthi (Asin) an aerobic teacher and falls hook-line-sinker for her.
Tamizh rubs the local mafia chief Guru who controls the city and kills him. Now the master mind of all crimes, the international don Ali Bhai (Prakah Raj) lands up in the city and appoints Tamizh as the new chief. Now the big twist is that Tamizh is none other than Satyamoorthy IPS who has infiltrated into the gang to clean up the city off its gangsters.
All this leads to a riveting climax when City Police Commissioner’s (Napolean) daughter is kidnapped and Satyamoorthy becomes the one-man-army who takes on Ali Bhai and his entire gang. What makes Pokkiri tick is that the story uses all the characters as restless, unbelievable pawns in a do-or-die chess game. To Prabhu Deva’ credit, he keeps the tempo running besides making use of Vijay’s immense screen presence and comedy timing.
Nirav Shah and editor Kola Bhaskar has used a techno-pop-style for the first time in a mass masala Vijay film that gives it an extra edge. The romance in the lift scene and in the ruins when Sruthi is about to express her love for Tamizh which is cut short with sporadic gunfire and killings has been well-picturised.
Vijay-Asin pair has terrific on-screen chemistry. The actress has never been picturised so glamorously as the camera focuses mainly on her front, midriff and back especially in her introductory scene.
Vadivelu’s comedy track as a Kung-Fu instructor is hilarious especially the Suttrum Vizhi.. number where he pokes fun at Surya. But the same cannot be said about some scenes when he pees on a bike are in low taste.
Prakash Raj is like old wine that gets better with time as he once again surprises you with his performance especially the scene in police custody.
It is an out-and-out Vijay film as the wise-cracking rowdy who turns a cop, he is wacky and has great comedy timing. He steers the film to the winning post. Mani Sharma’s music from the original has been retained and songs like Aadungada Ennai Suthi.. and Tamil Tamil.. are hummable and well-choreographed.
On the downside, the film is lengthy( 2 hours 50 minutes) and there is too much of blood and gore, including disturbing close-up shots.
But on the whole, Pokkiri is enjoyable while it lasts.
Verdict : Paisa Vasool