In this pandemic Tamil cinema producers have explored more than one way to launch their films. The OTT release with various methods like free trial, pay per view, and paying the exact amount one would pay for a ticket. Now one more method has been put to use from the producer of Pulikkuthi Pandi – a direct release through the television platform. Seems like a tough time for theater monopoly. Director M. Muthaiah is one of many story tellers in Tamil cinema who have a trademark film making pattern to their name. And Pulikkuthi Pandi is just another trademark film of his added to his filmography. If you had watched any of his works you know what you are in for. But has the director’s formulaic film making worked out this time around? To know let us get in to the review.
The film follows the life of Pandi (Vikram Prabhu), an orphan, who grows up to be a thug. He has petty cases to his name, but he does not give a damn. He gets drunk and spends time leisurely with his friends. There is other side to him as well, when he sees injustice, he does not care how mighty or powerful the person involved is, his first reaction is to trash them. Then the inevitable kicks in. He meets Pechi (Lakshmi Menon) during one of his tussles and ends up getting her attention. He falls for her instantly. His love for her makes him to give up on his aggressive nature. Soon the couple gets married. After marriage Pandi completely gives up his violent nature and becomes a responsible man. In fact he advises his lazy brother in laws to act as a responsible family man.
Everything seems to be going on the right track for Pandi. But in comes, Sannasi (Vela Ramamoorthy) and his sons (R. K. Suresh & Aruldoss). Sannasi is a malicious criminal and loan shark with whom Pandi has bad blood. Sannasi’s elder son (Aruldoss) is a cop who helps his family cover their criminal activities. Sannasi buys a house next to Pandi’s and lodges his mistress in it. When Sannasi misbehaves with Pechi and her sister in laws, things go out of hand. Pechi slaps Sannasi in front of everyone. Humiliated Sannasi and his son rage to extract vengeance. Even in spite of all this events Pandi accepts to apologies to Sannasi in front of the villages. But Sannasi sets a devious plot in motion that upsets Pandi’s family beyond repair. How Pandi’s family bounces back and face monstrous Sannasi and his sons is what makes the rest of the flick.
Director Muthaiah’s formula to make a film is to begin it with violence, proceed by comedy, more violence, love, and family sentiments. Like all Muthaiah’s film even in Pulikkuthi Pandi his lead character comes around by mouthing punch dialogues and breaking bones. Most of the scenes in the flick seem like a collection of scenes drawn from the director’s previous dramas. Just when you begin to get tired of the clichés, story teller Muthaiah introduces his gruesome antagonists and intensifies the flow of the plot. There is a Kutti Puli hangover here. The lead character gives up on violence. But unlike Kutti Puli here the lead character refuses to fight even to defend himself and that costs him dearly.
Generally, Muthaiah’s antagonists are ruthless and do not have even an ounce of morale. In Pulikkuthi Pandi he sketches his antagonists with more ruthlessness and immoral that the very sight of them evokes disgust. The director deploys this factor rightly and spices up the proceedings. When the flow of the film appears to get interesting, Muthaiah plants an unexpected twist in the tale to get us hooked. But it is too late to save Pulikkuthi Pandi as the film reaches the climax by then. And Muthaiah ends the film with a dramatic and fierce climax. Perhaps little hard work in the writing department could have resulted in making Pulikkuthi Pandi an enjoyable film.
Actor Vikram Prabhu is apt for the role and has got under the skin of the character. He has delivered an impressive performance both as a violent young man and a responsible diplomatic family man. Actress Lakshmi Menon has bagged a meaty role and she has done justice to it. Actor Vela Ramamoorthy is effective in the role of despicable wicked antagonist. Antagonists R. K. Suresh and Aruldoss have played their part well. Actors KPY Dheena, Singampuli, KPY Bala, and Aadukalam Naren have delivered what was asked of them. The rest of the cast have delivered a decent performance.
On the technical front, music Director N. R. Raghunanthan’s songs do not stay in our attention but his background score helps in enhancing the aggressive mood of the flick. Cinematographer R. Velraj as usual has done a commendable job in covering the drama. Editor Venkat Rajen upholds the work of his fellowman with his skillful sharp cuts.
On the whole, Pulikkuthi Pandi is just a hint to director Muthaiah that formulaic film making does get jaded after a point.