It's not usual for a Diwali release to come in without enough promotion, especially when it shares screens with a big name Vijay flick like Thuppaki. Despite everything, Poda Podi arrives after being in production for almost four years. Problems aside, Poda Podi has seen good promotion thanks to Simbhu taking a lot of things on his shoulders and Dharan Kumar's music, which has carved a niche for itself.
To start off, Poda Podi falls under the category of romantic comedies, although the latter is much less significant for one's liking. The story is rather simple and straightforward - love, ego clashes and understanding in the life between the NRI hero and heroine. While Vignesh Sivan's attempts are earnest and connect with the audience on several occasions, the overall script needs a lot more polishing to make for a convincing plot. However, he must be given credit for stepping up with things in the second half, albeit without a lot of logic. The entire picture is painted as if Poda Podi is more of a musical film whose purpose is to make you feel good at the end of the day.
Poda Podi was always going to be about Simbhu, and the actor has stood by the crew in pushing the film out up until the release. His involvement in every aspect of the film is evident. With respect to his acting, he takes up most of the time on screen and his efforts are perhaps the only thing that makes the audience take the film seriously. The height of his hard work is seen in two particularly emotional scenes that cover most touching parts of the film. His dancing is sensational in both 'Love Panlaama Venaama' and 'I am a Kuthu Dancer' which represent the beginning and end of Poda Podi respectively.
Varalaxmi, daughter of Sarath Kumar, covers almost all of the screen time along with Simbhu. She helps Simbhu out with dance moves (some really good ones) and with some added glamour throughout the script. Despite her efforts, her co-star appears more prominent in almost all of the sequences. The script being very emotional and involving a lot of dialogues, her performance is a bit stretched in the serious scenes.
Surprisingly, or even shockingly, only two other significant actors play character roles in Poda Podi. The first comes in the form of VTV Ganesh, who attempts to bring in some comedy to the plot with his cheesy dialogues. While he succeeds on a few occasions, it is not enough to help the light-heartedness of Poda Podi. Yesteryear actress Shobana takes up the other role, and just manages to do justice to it. Santhanam and Premgi Amaren show up with very small guest roles, that get you excited for a minute only for things to go back to normal again.
Dharan Kumar's music is easily one of the standing points of the film. It pumps in some much needed energy into the script and helps the script that's based on the life of a dancer couple. Dharan's BGMs are also pressing making scenes more realistic and convincing for the viewers. The grand finale with 'I am a Kuthu Dancer' looks fabulous and coupled with some great moves and music gives a sound ending to the film.
The music videos, thankfully, co-ordinate well with the tracks and come out quite well, for which cinematographer Duncan Telford should be appreciated. The film is entirely shot in London, leaving exceptions to the songs, which makes you wonder if it's another Unnale Unnale.
From the bird's eye, Poda Podi will join the growing class of feel good romantic- musicals. It has its highs in the form of its music and dance. Simbhu's efforts in acting out emotional scenes, learning Salsa, penning the lyrics and singing the songs won't go unnoticed by any means. Apart from these, the film lacks a solid story and anything significant in the screenplay to make for a hit. It makes you wonder if Poda Podi would have been better without all the problems. For the general audience, it should be worthy of a watch.
Rating - 3/5 - watch it for the dance, the music and Simbhu
Verdict - appealing to the youth, but falls prey to everyone else