May 31, 2006
Pudhupettai was one of the most eagerly-awaited movies of this year for a) its soundtrack, which was a hit as soon as it was released late last year; b) the Yuvan-Selva-Dhanush combo which happened after a hugely successful and critically acclaimed ‘Kaadhal konden’; c) high expectations that Selva would have something special for his struggling bro Dhanush.
Story: ‘Kokki’ Kumar’s (Dhanush) late-teen period is a recipe for disaster.. no interest in studies, fighting parents, rowdy dad and, in addition, his mother gets killed. He has to run for his life and resort to begging for his food. He is wrongly framed by police in a ‘Ganja’ case and there begins his journey in the underworld of Chennai. In the topsy-turvy ride, he faces lust, treachery, politics and, love.
Screenplay: The first half is very engaging.. the journey of a nobody towards becoming a dreaded rowdy is well-portrayed.. Once Sonia Agarwal enters, the director loses his plot and the events turn jerky.. The biggest let-down was the climax.. Though it was acceptable and believable in today’s politics, the events leading to it are quite jarring. The movie seemed to be ending atleast twice before the actual climax arrived. Viewers’ patience is tested and one gets relieved that the movie ended at last. On the plus side, Dhanush’s ‘training period’ has some interesting moments.
Performances: Dhanush is there on the screen 99% of the time.. So, even though he delivers a strong performance, I got tired of seeing him. He overacts in a few scenes, and some other scenes remind of his previous movies like Kaadhal kondEn, SullAn and Adhu oru kanAkAlam. Sneha does well in a few scenes. Sonia sleepwalks through her role.. Most of the male actors keep shouting all the time.. it gets irritatingly too loud.
Direction: IMHO, ‘Sathya’ (Hindi) was the best Indian movie on Metro-gangsters.. Even Ramgopal Varma couldn’t get away from its hangover in his subsequent films ‘Company’ and ‘Sarkar’. In ‘Pudhupettai’, Dhanush looks too skinny to be such a fiery gangster.. so, many of the fight scenes turn out to be unbelievable and over-the-top. As I said earlier, the second half had too many unnecessary scenes. On these accounts, Pudhupettai was inferior to ‘Kadhal Konden; and ‘7G..’ The songs seem very forced and one song ‘Oru naaLil’ is not even there.. as though the director didn’t know how to fit it into the movie.
Music and cinematography: Yuvan and Aravind Krishna (camera) are two strong pillars to the movie. Yuvan’s theme songs and background music fit well into the movie. Aravind has some interesting angles and his fast and less-intrusive camera capture the events quite well.
Overall, it is too gory and violent with lots of blood. It starts of well, promising a lot, only to deceive. Could have been better..