Vijay‘s much-anticipated fantasy film Puli (2015) has been released after an initial hiccup now common to Vijay‘s movie. I saw it for the evening show in Devi Theatre. On-screen opening there were usual celebrations for an opening day by Vijay fans including dance on stage and loud whistles.
In a bygone era, in a river near a settlement, a newborn baby along with a bird egg floats ashore in a nest. The local village leader (Prabhu) finds the baby and raises him as his son, the baby grows up as a warrior “Marudheeran” (played by Vijay). The story then moves on the expected lines. Maru falls in love with his childhood sweetheart from the same village Pavazhamalli (played by Shruti Haasan), to impress her Maru sets up a fake fight with the evil rulers “Vedhalam” of the kingdom. Pavazhamalli is kidnapped, and Maru goes in search of her to Queen’s (played by Sridevi) fort, on the way he saves the Princess (Hansika Motwani) from a black tiger, then learns the treachery of the commander-in-chief Jalatharangan (Sudeep) and about his own birth. How he defeats the evil and saves his love wife is the rest of the story.
Vijay in his pursuit of his wife is helped by Thambi Ramaiah, Sathyan, Vidyut Raman, Imman Annachi and Robo Shankar who are supposed to provide comedy relief, sadly none of them succeeds. This story along with the fact it’s a fantasy film provides Director Chimbu Devan, with enough storytelling opportunities, unfortunately, he hasn’t used them. Scenes which are supposed to be serious and emotional one’s evoked smiles in me, which is a failure of the script.
The person sitting next to me disappeared after the interval!
Sridevi after her comeback in English Vinglish has landed in a rememberable role which she has utilised well. On the first screen when Maru meets the evil Queen, with the magical powers she appears and disappears across the court, walking on the ceiling mesmerising the audience. The costumes worn by the main characters and warriors are a visual treat, and the lilliput kingdom shown will be fun to watch for kids. The background score and music by Devi Sri Prasad (DSP) sound the same throughout the film, there seems to be no variation, and song lyrics are even flatter.
Throughout the film Vijay‘s character appears amateurish, in his introduction scene where he begs their arch-rival Vedhalam is a big let down; in the next scene when we sit up after he has a good fight action with them, it turns out it was a staged setup. This trend continues throughout, Vijay crosses all the hurdles with the help of information from an old Wiseman or a miracle medicine and because of his bloodline strengths. There is a little showcase of him as a warrior or a strategist. For example, the father of Vijay’s character drinks poison without any effort of fighting back the evil.
Shruti Haasan speaks in-total two lines of dialogue, appears glamorous in two love songs and disappears. Hansika fairs even poorer with just a few words of dialogue and one love song. Veteran Vijayakumar as the old Emperor has no dialogues!
There are too many characters in the movie including the one-eyed monster and the spell-casted bird who serve no big purpose and are wasted. Overall a movie that is unlikely to be what Vijay’s fans will want to remember.