Fantasy and multi-starrers are relatively new concepts for Tamil cinema. Vijay, the leading star among the current lot of actors has acted in a film that has these two concepts and that film is ‘Puli’. Read on to know how the film has worked out.
'Puli' is the story how Marudheeran (Vijay) saves the innocent people of his tribal village from the clutches of a demoniac klngdom ruled by Yavana Rani (Sridevi) who Is controlled by the wicked Thalapathy Jalatharangan (Sudeep).
Director Chimbudevan starts off his film with the detailing of the background of a kingdom with super powers and the travails of the tribal villages coming under its regimel. He also sets the tone for a fantasy film with the initial voice over and how Marudheeran (Vijay) reaches the tribal village as a kid with strange powers. But what follows are usual elements like romance, comedy etc loyally following the commercial agenda and they offer nothing new except that the film is set in a different place and characters wear different costumes. But there are interesting moments here and there thanks to the presence of Vijay and fantasy based ideas like dwarf people, talking bird, a giant tortoise, black panther fight etc.
Towards the interval the film picks up momentum and we put on our seat belts expecting a racy and entertaining second half. The second does retains the momentum to a large extent and the fantasy element retained throughout offers many surprising moments. But a weak flashback, poor placement of songs, convenient turns in the story and a dragging climax dampen the overall impact.
The biggest plus for 'Puli' would be that the film does not disappoint in its fantasy content. Huge sets, mammoth animals. Lead characters with super natural powers etc would definitely satisfy the lovers of this genre and would also appeal to children. The script does not have any complicated ideas like time travel etc and it’s a simple revenge story told with lots of fantasy elements. And you have to follow the thumb rule of fantasy: Set aside the logic and enjoy the magic.
Vijay fits well in the fantasy setting without compromising his mass appeal. The second half has a lot of moments for the ardent Vijay fans to cheer aloud, clap and whistle. He carries of the stunts and dance sequences with his usual finesse. With a surprise guest role as 'Puli Vendhan', he proves his acting skills and his unique dialogue delivery comes to fore in these sequences. But the getup for this character could have been better.
After Vijay, the second strongest role goes for Sridevi and the yesteryear princess of Kollywood has lived as a queen to say the least. The casting of such a talented actress is completely justified and no doubt Sridevi has given her best for this strong role that women could rarely get in Tamil films. A fantastic comeback indeed!!!
Sudeep as the lead villain is menacing but has nothing new to offer
Shruthi Haasan and Hansika come and disappear as mere arm candies of the hero and they satisfy that requirement. Prabhu comes in yet another 'oor periyavar' role ofcourse in a different setting. The efforts of Thambi Ramiah and Sathyan in the first half fail to evoke laughter. Robo Shankar and Imman Annachi compensate this with their one-liners here and there.
Technically the film has lived up to its lavish spending and hype created. Art director Muthuraj, cinematographer Natraj and the VFX team lead by R.Kamalakannan have ensured that the film is a visual treat. The gigantic palace set (both interior and exterior) by Muthuraj challenges the previous standards set by Indian cinema. Natraj has opted for shots in unusual and challenging angles. The way he has captured the scene where the lead man assumes an extraordinary power is the best example. VFX shots are mostly pleasing but in quite a few scenes it becomes evident that the characters and backgrounds are artificially attached. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is seamless.
Coming from Devi Sri Prasad, 'Yaendi Yanedi' is the only hummable song in the film and others just come and go as fillers. Re-recording fits the bill
Chimbudevan is known for his comical dialogues with a splendid touch of satire. With an actor like Vijay known for his comic sense wonders were expected in this department. But humor or the lack of it is one of the biggest letdowns in 'Puli'. The overall film manages to bring a few guffaws here and there but that just does not suffice. The dialogues as such do not gel well with the setting of the film as most of the words and verbal expressions sound contemporary. However the dialogues targeted at Vijay fans are appreciable.
Despite some drawbacks and disappointments, 'Puli' ends up as a decent fantasy entertainer that will be specially liked by Children and Vijay who retains his form and charm as always lives up to his mass appeal.
Verdict: Enjoy the magic of Vijay and Fantasy
Rating: 2.8 / 5.0