Why is there a sudden glut of gangster movies? The answers to this simple question maybe many. But the fact of the matter they make for interesting plot lines and captivating cinema.
Puthupettai, though not top-of-the-line, is an interesting attempt to get to the heart of those who inhabit the nether, dark world, which the mainline city forgets and tries to push it under a collective carpet.
Selvaraghavan, who knows how to throw a flashlight on the darker side of human nature, does it here too. He gets to the heart of the violence, and in doing so he also unravels the universal truth that kindness and killer instincts are just a breadth away from each other.
Puthupettai, in terms of cinematic novelty, falls on predictable lines. But individual performances, lead by the highly talented Dhanush and Sneha, along with the technical whiz of Yuvan Shankar Raja and cameraman Aravind Krishna, make Puthupettai very much watchable.
The movie is about the rites of passages in the life and times of an everyday-man who ends up as a dreaded gangster. Kokki Kumar (Dhanush), the traumatized youth runs away from his home as his dad kills his mother. He ends up in the big bad world of a city on the move. The city accepts him through the arms of a local politico (Azhagarperumal). The gang under him is into all sort of dark deeds ---drugs, women, murder. Kumar runs into Krishnaveni (Sneha), a conscientious sex worker. As it happens, he falls for her charm, and goes to the extent of killing his own boss in a murderous tiff. So Kumar becomes the ganglord. And now it is all rise for him. The denouement is interesting as it has some interesting twists.
Dhanush as the innocent boy who transmogrifies into a bloody criminal is utterly believable. The subtle changes in his body language and his ability to give every expression a deeper meaning make the character more interesting. This is certainly one of his better performances.
Sneha as battered and bruised prostitute is a revelation. She is precise and poised in her portrayal. Azhagarperumal as the politico gives the right amplification to the evil politico. Sonia Agarwal has nothing much to do.
The film's two pillars have been Yuvana and Aravind Krishna. They have always been sources of inspiration to Selva. They have not let him down this time too. Super 35-camera innovation is worth a watch. The moods and moments are rightly created by Aravind.
Puthupettai is utterly real. Too real and stark, for some. Selva as usual gets to the nub of things pretty shrewdly. The only failing of the movie maybe that there are too many gangster movies around. But that is not Selvaraghavan's fault.
Go watch it, if you want to see love under the layers of violence.