Some “stories” are very fascinating. Especially the ones which parents tell their children to make them sleep, like “Alice in Wonderland”. To transform such stories on silver screen, it needs a lot of creativity and imaginative power. How this stuff has been reached to the audience is more important than anything. I’m not talking about “Alice in Wonderland”. I’m talking about Chimbudevan’s “Puli”. Starring Ilayathalapathy Vijay in lead role, this film has Sruthi Hassan, Hansika, Sudeep and the then dream girl “Sridevi” in pivotal roles.
Once upon a time there existed a kingdom called “Bethaala Rajyam”. Under the dictatorship and tyranny of Bethaalaas, people faced a lot of troubles. There lied a tribe called “Bhairava Kona” in which Manohara (Vijay) was brought up. The story is about how he rescued his people from the throne’s tyranny.
Firstly, the work of Chimbudevan to transform a bedtime story into a feature film should be appreciated. Though he had a “sword” (Kathi) in his hand before, Vijay’s bravery to handle a sword in this kind of story should be appreciated as well.
Coming to narration, Chimbudevan should have concentrated on narration to impress at least 50 percent of audiences when he wanted to release his film in a national standard (Tamil, Telugu and Hindi). But he came up with a narration which can be suited for only one set of audience. This is the biggest blunder. Moreover, songs barricading the screenplay was a test for audience’s patience.
Some imaginations like Lilliput kingdom, one eyed Trojan War’s Cyclops like character, talking birds and tortoise and Bethaala’s fort were good. When I was about to praise his imagination in these stuff, Chimbudevan got my hatred with an allergic imagination regarding a “Frog”. However he failed to impress completely with his narration and irritating comedy sequences and performances in the first half.
Second half was much better when compared to that of first one. The limited number of scenes which elevated heroism here were good. The sequence where Yavana Rani (Sridevi) and Jalandharudu (Sudeep) tests Manohara satisfy Vijay’s fans who were in search of their “Hero” until then. The story of Manohara’s father started with a scene from Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” and impressed for a couple of minutes. Then the entire narration had no impressive content.
Due to these things, “Puli” (tiger) said “Meow” instead of roaring. Though reviewers like me nail this film to the ground, it has a lot of elements which fascinate kids which in turn bring their entire family to theatres. If Puli is declared at least as an average film then it should be very much grateful to family audiences.
Coming to songs, all were barriers for screenplay. Yet l liked “Yenti Yenti” song for its scenic locations and “Manmadhuda” for its choreography. The songs “Jingiliya” and “Pitta Kalla” challenged how patient an audience can be.
Coming to performances, playing a character like Manohara isn’t difficult for Vijay. Yet it cannot be judged completely as I’ve seen Telugu version of Puli which has a dubbed voice for Vijay. When dubbed, the character loses life and doesn’t provide a chance either to judge the character or the actor. Sruthi Hassan and Hansika were usual heroines. Sudeep was al-right as an antagonist. “Yavana Rani” character wasn’t much suitable for Sridevi due to her ageing appearance.
- Basic Plot and Imaginations. The basic plot written by Chimbudevan had a lot of good imaginations like talking animals and the features of Bethaala tribe. He failed to execute them convincingly on screen.
- Visual Effects. These kinds of stories need a lot of work on visual effects on which Makuta VFX did an impressive job.
- Nataraj Subramaniyam’s Cinematography. This is one more eminence for this film. Nataraj has taken a good care of lighting and other things like aerial shots of Bethaala fort.
- Muthuraj’s Art Direction. The sets like Manohara’s tribe, Bethaala fort were erected well.
- Devi Sri Prasad’s Music. Though the songs were average, Devi came up with a good background score which helped for the screenplay’s elevation.
- Narration. These kinds of fairy tales should have an impressive narration but Chimdevan came up with exaggerating and boring narration. So why Puli failed to roar.
- Irritating Comedy. The comedy done by “Konangi” character in this film tested the patience in such a way that I wished he should come out of screen once to me.
- Exaggerations. Puli is a hub of unimpressive exaggerations. Maybe this is why T.Rajendar exclaimed in its audio launch as “Idi Aadambara Puli, Idi Athishaya Puli”. (Just for fun).
- Performances. Maybe these kinds of performances are acclaimed by Tamil audiences but this is not a film which has national appeal and cannot impress other audiences like Telugu and Hindi.
A Telugu version of this review can be found here.