Being bad has never been better. And suddenly gangster and mafia movies are the flavor. In a sense, even Mahesh Babu's previous movie Athadu was one.
In Pokiri, the hero is introduced to us a ruthless baddie, part of the huge underbelly of mafia. By the time we come to the denouement, there is much twist and turn. If you like some racy action, fun, glamour and love, then Pokiri would be your kind of film.
Pandu (Mahesh) is a remorseless mafia man. He is part of a gang that is headed by Ali Bhai (Prakash Raj), the Dubai-based don. Pandu falls in love with the aerobics teacher Sruthi (Ileana). She also falls for him but he is put off by his bad ways. Pandu has a fall-out with Ali Bhai while Sruthi is harassed by a venal cop (Asish Vidyarthi). The finale is about how Pandu (there is a suspense to his role) outwits Ali and how he gets the hand of Sruthi.
The tale is a mixture of Hollywood and desi hits.
Mahesh revels in an author-backed role. His insouciance and cultivated elegance add to the polish of the character. He is decidedly first rate in the role of a patented baddie. The director seems to have created his character with lot of care. Even his looks are very cool and comfy. Ileana, looking gorgeous, is also very cute and likeable. She has moved up in acting to after Devadasu. Her exchanges with Mahesh and the natural chemistry that flow between them is a highlight of the movie.
Prakash Raj as Ali is typical. But some of his mannerisms are predictable. So too is Asish Vidyarthi. But it is Shayaji Shinde, as a honest cop, who is the standout. Nasser is also convincing. The same cannot be said of the comedy track.
Mani Sharma's music is also another plus. His re-recording gives the right backdrop. Shyam K Naidu's camera work is another asset to the movie.
Puri Jagannadh has got it right as a scriptwriter. He has worked around the story with dexterity. He has also got the feel of the movie right. Though there are elements that may put you off (too much action and extra glamour), Puri Jagannadh surely knows the pulse of the audience. And in Mahesh he has got an able ally.
Pokiri looks like it will work at the box office.