By: By Moviebuzz
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 26 May 2006
Dhanush, Sonia, Sneha
Where Selvaraghavan falters this time is storytelling something that worked well in his last two films. Here it?s hyperkinetic, complete with jump cuts, freeze frames, in your face camera, leaps back and forward in time and a wry, self conscious narration that takes most of the time.
The story is about the life and times of a meek guy ?Kokki? Kumar (Dhanush) a poor slum boy who runs away from home after his father, a small time hoodlum kills his mother. Facing starvation and loneliness, he starts begging on the streets before he accidentally gets involved with a gang that sells narcotics. The gang leader Anbu runs the area with an iron hand with the support of a local party leader (Azhagarperumal).
Kumar slowly learns the ropes and is helped by Ravi to sharpen his skills as a hit man. However, Kumar develops a soft corner for Krishnaveni (Sneha), a prostitute in a brothel run by Anbu. He wants Anbu to leave her alone which leads to a tiff between them and in a fit of rage, Kumar kills Anbu and takes over as the gang leader. The rest of the film shows his rise as the gang leader and henchman for a political party.
The problem with Puthupettai is the characterization of ?Kokki? Kumar for whom we neither sympathize nor are we able to be part of his anguish and ruminations. The story does not detail his growth in the crime empire but instead the focus shifts to his personal life in the second half. Too many clich?d sentiments mar the proceedings. Normally in Selva?s films, there are some lighter moments but here it?s far too morbid.
There is a lot of blood and gore with violence against women like Krishnaveni getting battered by Anbu, the mother of Kumar brutally killed, Kumar proudly walking on the streets with the head of Anbu, people being killed like flies, buried alive, close-up?s of bruised faces and blood spewing like fountain! We wonder why Selva chose aruvaal as the weapon used by Chennai gangsters in these days of guns and pistols?
Of the performers, Selva has made the film for his brother Dhanush. Physically agile, a bit loud Dhanush pours plenty of heartfelt emotion to his role but lacks the menacing look need for the character to look convincing. Sneha is the scene stealer as Krishnaveni and her quite dignity in the face of tragedy is well-etched out. She has been able to get the emotions and mannerisms of a street walker correctly. And pray why was Sonia Agarwal in the cast? She has nothing much to do other than give her usual sad look.
Azhagamperumal as the suave, smooth talking politician is a revelation and the rest of the cast are all impressive. Yuvan?s music and background score is definitely the real winner though the Oru Naalil? sung by Yuvan himself and the pick of the album is missing in the film. The camera of Aravind Krishna is top notch as it effectively captures the grim Chennai underworld. The use of Super 35 camera is one of the highlights of the film especially to show the close-up?s of the main characters.
You simply would not associate Puthupettai as a Selvaraghavan film. The first half was promising but post interval, the film collapses. It was too much fret and fury about nothing.