Casts: Vijay, Sridevi, Sudeep, Hansika, Shruthi Hassan, Prabhu, Thambi Ramiah, Robo Shankar, Sathyan
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Genre: Action Fantasy
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Genre: Action Fantasy
After numerous roadblocks for the film, ‘Puli’ has overcome them all to hit the screens on time. With the interesting combo of Vijya-Chimbu Devan, the film has garnered a lot of interest, thanks to the exciting promos as well. With humongous expectations to fulfil, will this ‘Puli’ soar high?
Maru Dheeran (Vijay) is a young man who stands up for the people against the ‘Vedhalam’ warriors (inclined with super powers) with his pure wit. One day, his ladylove, Pavazhamani (Shruthi Hassan), is abducted by the Vedhalam warriors for a ritual. Maru Dheeran decides to go the fortress to rescue her by drinking a potion that will give him super powers for every eight minutes. He disguises as a ‘Vedhalam’ and enters the fortress as a medic. However, he faces much more bigger challenges through the evil queen, Yavanarani (Sridevi) and Jalatharangan (Sudeep). How Maru Dheeran overcomes the obstacles and save his ladylove, forms the crux of the story.
Story – Screenplay
‘Puli’ is definitely will fall in the least substantial film of Chimbu Devan with a wafer thin plot which merely dependant on the presentation. Not necessarily a sin, but in ‘Puli’ it falls prey to too many commercial temptations.
The core problem lies on the tried and tested, hill old storyline that somehow becomes predictable even after the very first scene. The film is neither on the fantasy side or a typical commercial movie side and the attempt to mix has backfired. The comical scenes look forced and leaves us barely tickled. ‘Puli’ also has too much of speed breakers with song being thrown aimlessly that harms the flow of the screenplay. The first half takes its time to settle in with a few forced comedy scenes, insipid romantic scenes and dreary fight scenes.
Unfortunately, the film also meanders around a thin line between spoof and serious fantasy. The ‘Vedhalam’ warriors that are supposed to be scary, fall flat whereas the magical aspects look unimaginative. Chimbu Devan who is known for his terrifically thought provoking dialogues, has shifted away from his style, crafting loads of ‘punches’ to solely suit the lead actor’s image. Despite having many characters, the film does not give a proper purpose or traits for them. The flashback ‘twist’ scene is the biggest drawback, as it looks melodramatic and exaggerated.
On a brighter note, we do see Chimbu Devan’s traces of brilliance through the climax where he combines all the small characters he has introduced from the beginning to aid in Maru Dheeran’s final quest. The second half is better than the first with few tensed moments. Chimbu Devan has also designed few fantasy creatures along the story that will definitely please the younger audiences.
Even though. ‘Puli’ might not be the best fantasies in Indian cinema, kudos for Chimbu Devan’s attempt itself, on dealing with a big quest that comes with the genre.
Casting & Performance
‘Puli’ is loaded with stars from upcoming celebrities to celebrated veterans of Indian cinema.
Vijay should be certainly commended for his experimentation in a different genre. As usual, he excels in dance sequences and breath-taking stunts. However, one might feel that due to his inconsistent characterization, his performance is somehow limited.
Sridevi who comes only from second half onwards, looks convincing and majestic as the evil queen but looks worn out with a rigid performance. ‘Kiccha’ Sudeep does what he is best in by playing the main baddie in the film. His hard work in stunt sequences is evident and noteworthy. However, his one directional characterization becomes feeble by the time we hit the climax.
Shruthi Hassan and Hansika look a million dollar with the former getting more scope for acting. The comedy duo Thambi Ramiah and Sathyan has done a fair job, evoking occasional laughs. However, Robo Shankar, Imman Annachi and Vidyaulekka as the ‘Lilliput’ are way more impactful than them despite having very less screen space.
In overall, with a star-studded casts ensemble, if only Chimbu Devan has packed with more substance and dimensions to the character, ‘Puli’ might have gone to another level.
‘Puli’ scores the most here with talented, well-collaborated technical team.
Natty’s camera work is the biggest plus of the film. With the right tone and lighting, he brings in extreme lavishness in each frame. His camera works in fight scenes and establishing Arial shots are arresting. His majestic angles for the second half portions do elevate the dried content at times.
VFX by Kamalakannan is one of the positives of the film as well. The blending during the fight scenes and songs are better than most of the Indian films we have seen. The giant tortoise and Lilliput are the key aspects among them. Undoubtedly, a great work by the entire team with a limited budget.
Dance choreography by Raju Sundram and Sridhar is innovative with a tint of magical element. The make-up and costume for all the casts are carefully chosen and designed, complimenting the texture of the characters. Sridevi and Hansika’s costumes look the best among all. However, one might just wonder why Shurthi Hassan is spotted with such luxurious costumes despite coming from a poor family.
The only downer is Devi Sri Prasad’s music that does not match the excellent visuals presented. As a period fantasy flick, the music does not sound or suit the theme at all too. Among the songs, ‘Jingiliya’ sounds exciting but unapologetically acts as a major hindrance to the narration. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is neat but could have trimmed it shorter.
In overall, Chimbu Devan must be praised for his excellent rapport with the technical team bringing in the excitement in visuals, needed for a fantasy.
Despite the exciting visuals and star casts, ‘Puli’ suffers from a meandering screenplay that prefers style over substance.
Rating - 2.75/5