CAST AND CREW
Production: SKT Studios
Cast: Hansika Motwani, Kiccha Sudeep, Nandita, Prabhu, Shruti Haasan, Sridevi, Vijay
Direction: Chimbu Deven
Screenplay: Chimbu Deven
Story: Chimbu Deven
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Background score: Devi Sri Prasad
Cinematography: Natarajan Subramaniam
Editing: Sreekar Prasad
Art direction: Muthuraj
Marketed and branded as a grand fantasy ride, the Chimbu Deven directed Puli hits the screens today after facing a few minor release hiccups over the past day or so.
Despite having a huge star like Vijay on board, Chimbu plays to his strengths in Puli and we have many of the director’s trademark touches and quirks. With practical restrictions, he also has pulled off a project of such a scale quite effectively.
The story is pretty simple with Vijay playing Marudheeran, a young man who takes up a mission, against the rulers of the land, to get back his lady love.
This journey is packed with enjoyable adventure, fantasy and fun elements, and Vijay safely navigates his way with his sidekicks for company. Even animals and birds have a sizable part to play, and there is also a neat twist thrown into the mix towards the end.
We get to see Vijay as youthful and well-groomed as ever and thanks to his fit and agile frame, he doesn’t look odd in his regal costumes. The naughty, cheeky, flirty side of Vijay is also on view here, and Puli is an easy outing for this experienced star.
His fast dance moves in the opening ‘Puli Puli’ song are jaw-dropping indeed. He is 41, can you believe it? Though the film is quintessentially Chimbu Deven in the way it plays out, there are sharp punch dialogues, action scenes and mass moments dedicated to Vijay’s fans, which they ought to lap up big time.
Whenever he looks at the screen and interacts with his audience, they go wild in delight.
The splendid production design by Muthuraj for all the interiors, the strong VFX work by Kamalakannan and team, the intricate work done on the extravagant costumes, robes and other royal accessories, the numerous sword fight sequences, the lush outdoor locations and the overall grandeur in DoP Natty’s visuals count among Puli’s numerous plus points.
Devi Sri Prasad’s work on the RR serves the purpose and his orchestration is heavy and dramatic, befitting the film’s genre. Among the song visuals, the celebratory ‘Jingiliya’ has its unique standout factor while the visually rich ‘Yendi Yendi’ oozes fine romantic chemistry between Vijay and Shruti Haasan.
The one-dimensional brooding nature of the lead villain is a downer in Puli, along with the melodramatic flashback segment and some of the song placements.
Shruti Haasan is undeniably glamorous and generously flaunts her lithe frame, while ‘princess’ Hansika shines in the dance sequences. Nandita’s is a ‘blink you miss’ type of role while veteran superstar Sridevi, as the magically gifted queen, commands good screen space.
This is another productive outing for the supremely consistent Thambi Ramaiah, who sports twin mustaches much to our amusement. And Robo Shankar, Vidyu Raman, Imman Annachi can’t play such roles again.
The film moves along at a pretty leisurely pace, and one can’t go in expecting a racy ride from start to finish. The ending could have been better, as it is too frenetic.
Weighing all the positives and negatives, Puli is ultimately an effort which needs to be positively considered. It isn’t everyday that a lavish film such as this is made. Despite its screenplay issues, Puli deserves to be seen for all that has gone into its making.
When Superstars pick such new scripts, there are lots of good things that can happen to cinema. Applause to Vijay for that.
Verdict: Looking beyond few issues, Puli is a lavishly made mainstream fantasy entertainer with good visual effects which should be encouraged.