Direction: Chimbu Deven
Cast: Vijay, Sridevi, Sudeep, Shruti Haasan, Hansika Motwani, Nandita Swetha
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Cinematographer: Natarajan Subramaniam
Editor: Sreekar Prasad
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
What is it about: Puli is yet another fantasy adventure action drama, which has a clichéd plot where a small village is going through dark times because an evil minister is trying to take over the kingdom by deceiving the King and the Queen. In these dark times there comes a hero who stands up for his people. Following these incidents the protagonist’s wife gets taken away by the evil kingdom (Vedhalam). The hero embarks on a quest to save the damsel in distress, which is followed by chaotic incidents with humour and adventure. This forms the crux of the story.
Why it’s disappointing: I can list many why it was disappointing, to make it quite short here are a few reasons why “Puli” didn’t roar on the screen. First and foremost thing to keep in mind when it comes to making a period oriented film is detailing, which took a big hit in “Puli”, the costumes were not designed well and the accessories used to stitch them were the techniques which we use in modern world, I wonder how come the tribes then were well aware of “Velcro” for the back of their shirts. Vijay looks very modern whereas the other villagers look dated back then, Shruthi looks like a princess but her parents look downright villagers with dull clothes. There was no sync of costume design with the characters. Art was taking a toll with poorly executed VFX. Action was a disaster, never seen such slow fight sequences in any of the Vijay movies till date which literally puts you to sleep. The make-up was another factor which was either too less concentrated or flashed on faces of Hansika and Sridevi.
The screenplay by Chimbudevan was a great disappointment, I have been an admirer of his films and have enjoyed in the past, still wondering how come he did not do anything out of the box, which he’s known for. The worst part are the dialogues which were very weak and makes you laugh whenever Vijay dishes out a punch-line, the entire cinema hall was making a mockery out of it, It clearly shows that Vijay is trying to make a point of coming in to politics with his witty one-liners, which became the focus losing the essence of the film.
Vijay was rising with good films and was being counted among the potentials, which has gone down the drain with “Puli”, gravely disappointed after “Thuppakki” & “Kaththi”. Shruthi Hassan was the glam doll who makes a brief appearance in the first half and disappears for the rest of the movie until climax. Hansika was a waste of time, could have used any new comer in her place which would have given some upcoming actress a break. The rest of the supporting cast was as weak as the script.
Sudeep was a wasted talent in this movie, and so was Sridevi. They both could have been great characters, if Chimbu had given a darker depth to it.
On top of all Devi Sri Prasad’s score which is a template that never changes. Sreekar Prasad’s editing was a surprise because never seen him cut such a sloppy one. It is said this movie was made keeping the kids in mind, but I doubt even they might be pleased as there were no continuous factors which could keep them in line.
What to watch out for: Natrajan’s cinematography was one good thing in the movie, which at least tried to keep the visuals colourful. The VFX in parts were quite good, like the 180 year Old turtle and the GPS frog. Other than these I can’t find anything worthy to say about “Puli”.
Verdict: A fantasy gone wrong in all aspects of the respective genre, which falls on its face due to weakly treated screenplay and underplayed characters, which makes “Puli” nothing but a waste of time and money.