Critic's Rating: 3/5
Thursday 01 October 2015
Vijay, Sridevi, Sudeep, Hansika, Shruti
It is really hard to pin down the true merits of Vijay’s much hyped Puli. It is a big film in all respects- big stars, big canvas, big expenditure on SFX and above all huge expectations. Sadly, all said and done, Puli disappoints, though director Chimbu Devan and his hero Vijay has to be lauded for making a fantasy/adventure film, a rarity in Tamil cinema.
The director doesn’t seem to have looked too far for inspiration to make this fantasy film, which has the hero playing the roles of multiple warriors-a father and a son both Vedhalams (!!) Given the fact that Puli rests on a thin plot, there's not much that director Chimbu Devan can do to salvage the show.
Vedhalapuram is ruled by queen Yavana (Sridevi) but she acts as per the words of her tyrant commander/Thalapathy Jaladarangan( Sudeep) who uses magical powers and turns her into a mere puppet. Mean while, our hero Marudheeran ( Vijay) lives a happy life with his girlfriend Pavala Malli( Shruti Haasan) and foster father(Prabhu).
When the army men from Vedhalapuram kidnaps Pavala Malli and kills Marudheeran's father, he enters Yavana's kingdom in disguise of a Vedhalam. At one point of time, Marudheeran earns the trust of Yavana that she even announces the marriage of her daughter Princess Mandakini (Hansika) to him.The rest of the film tells us whether Marudheeran saves his people and girlfriend from the evil queen or not.
The film’s biggest weakness, is that the script’s real backbone – the mythological relevance and back-story, that is conveyed in such a boring manner that it simply comes off sounding like mumbo-jumbo. The romantic track between Vijay and Shruti’s characters looks so forced, it practically jumps at you as each song bursts out of nowhere.
On the upside, the camera work by Natraj, set designs by T Muthuraj, VFX by Kamalakannan and the action scenes are spectacular. Among the songs by Devi Sri Prasad it is only "Yendi..Yendi..." that is hummable. The effort taken by Vijay to make a special kind of film is visible on the screen. But sadly the director lacks the imagination required to pull off what he set out to achieve.
Another drawback is that unlike Chimbu Devan's earlier movies, here comedy falls flat and even few laughs that come in-between are double-meaning, which seriously raises a question whether the same director made the clean laugh-riot Imsai Arasan and watertight Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavanigalum.
Vijay tries hard to make his charisma work with comedy, punch lines and dance. Sridevi's over-the-top performance falls flat while Hansika and Shruti in their small parts has little to do but look pretty. Sudeep has a terrific introduction scene but the predictable negative role offers him nothing to be proud of. Imman Annachi, Thambi Ramaiah, Robo Shankar and Vidyullekha as dwarfs tries hard to bring laughter.
A crisper script and a lighter directorial hand is what are missing here. Alas, it’s a fantasy film without any of the fun and excitement that ought to go with it. You wouldn't mind a 3-hour film in fantasy genre even today, provided it has the power to keep you glued to the screen. In this case, the 154 minutes seem never-ending.