“Pandi” is a typical mass masala. This film sees Sneha changing her simple girl next-door-image to a glam girl. She is forthright in her view that what ultimately matters is the box office. She has no compunctions in transforming herself. Her pairing with Lawrence Raghavendra is another highlight of the film.
Lawrence has made it as a choreographer and also directed a couple of films but as a actor he is not tested as yet. In “Pandi” he plays a weighty role with multi-dimensions _ comedy, romance, dance, sentiment, etc. What with an insipid story and a hackneyed formula, he is hard put to deliver.
Nasser is a dedicated school teacher and Saranya is his wife. They have three daughters and two sons -Sriman and younger Lawrence (Pandi). Lawrence grows up to be a delinquent and incurs the displeasure of his father. A strict disciplinarian, Nasser drives him out in a fit of rage. The eldest son Sriman, whom his father names to light the funeral pyre when he dies, runs away with Rs one lakh which his father had borrowed for his daughter’s wedding.
Driven out from home, Lawrence gets reformed. With his father done in by a fellow teacher (Raj Kapoor) in his bid to become the headmaster, Lawrence takes on the responsibility of marrying off his sister and fulfilling the dream of his beloved mother to build a house. With these objectives, Lawrence goes to Dubai and works as a sweeper. Unaware that his mother is dead, he returns to his native place, Usilampatti. He is shocked when the news that his mother also was murdered is broken to him. Now he is out to get at the villain (Raj Kapoor).
In the meantime, Lawrence is attracted to Sneha and their marriage is opposed tooth and nail by her father (Ilavarasu), a police inspector. The lovers defy Ilavarasu and marry. How Lawrence grapples with the ugly situations is the crux of the story.
Lawrence simply goes through the motions. He is not able to emote and fails to bring out the nuances of the hero character. His fighting with the villain, Raj Kapoor, in the climax deserves applause. Lawrence-Sneha bathroom scenes are imaginative though such scenes have become very common in Tamil cinema.
Sneha, as an educated, rich girl, steals the show. She proves a point that she is second to none in glamour by joining glam girl Namitha in an item number and her singing songs in glamorous costumes on the beaches and cities of Malaysia. She also does some comedy. Her puking twice on the face of Ganja Karuppu under the influence of locally made liquor brings the house down.
Nasser and Saranya bring their experiences to bear on their roles. They move the audience with sentiments and tears.
Ilavarasu’s acting as the father of Sneha is natural. His presence at the wedding of his daughter with Lawrence as part of the police security is made to appear ironical.
Ganja Karuppu, Kumaresan and Mayilsami form the comedy team.
On the flip-side, Saranya’s funeral scene is unnecessarily stretched to the point of vexing the audience. History sheeter Lawrence getting a visa to go to Dubai is illogical. A teacher killing a fellow teacher is unbelievable.
Srikanth Deva’s music and Senthilkumar’s camerawork keep up the momentum.
It is Sneha who salvages the film. See her in her new image!