Puli - A Roaring Whimper
A periodical fantasy starring a reigning star does seem like a mouth watering prospect. Despite the controversies that seem to plague his every other movie Vijay is certainly on a roll ever since Kaavalan.Will Puli follow suit or buck the trend?
Marudeeran (Vijay) is someone who does not mind standing up for his people. But he is meek and does not have the physical prowess to overcome any adversity. When his lady love is taken away by a powerful breed of men who have supernatural powers he has no option but to take them on. This journey has some revelations about who Marudeeran actually is.
Though it may sound repetitive it is really hard to believe that Vijay has touched the forties. He looks younger than his last two releases and has had a ball shaking his leg in the film. But a certain panache that you associate with him is sorely missing in Puli. You know he has a good flair for comedy but he does not quite hit the right note here except for a couple of instances. His voice modulation in the flashback does not come off convincingly and looks too contrived. Sudeep seems to have been absolutely wasted and he makes no impression whatsoever. Sridevi who enters fairly late in the movie does make an impact. Thambi Rammiah, Sathyan, Robo Shankar,Imman Annachi,Ali and Vidyulekha do bring in few good laughs. Shruthi and Hansika bare their midriffs throughout but barely stay in your mind.
The VFX is pretty good. That it does not look out of place despite releasing close on the heels of Baahubali is definitely a commendable job from the Puli team.The songs did not catch on when the audio released. But DSP's tunes does look and sound better on screen with the aid of Vijay's agility.
But the action sequences do not create an impact.They are mundane and lack the punch.
There is a certain period in the film that extends on either side of the interval which is very good and shows what Chimbudevan is capable of. The dwarfs, the puzzle like clues to reach the destination and some very good comedy in this stretch is the best that Puli has to offer. The portions before and after this range from silliness,mediocrity and overblown heroism that fail to connect whatsoever. The 'Vedhalams' concept seems to have been wasted. They are not made to look as fearless as they are supposed to be. The problem with Puli is that it is neither here nor there. There is fantasy on one hand and hero worshiping on the other. The later is what is executed pathetically. We are not talking about political correctness or refined film-making here. We are fine with the hero speaking out to his fans from the screen and projecting him as a saviour. But it is all done in such a manner that even a fan might not get even a hint of gooseflesh. The 'mass' appeal actually goes for a 'toss' in these scenes. It is never a good sign when you are waiting for a movie to end.
Puli roars in imagination but whimpers in execution. You get the look and feel of a lavish buffet but what you get tastes like left over food.
Rating : 2.25/5