Udhayam NH 4 director Manimaran returns with his second film Pugazh starring Jai and Surabhi in the leads with Jai going by the same name as the film.
The film is said to be based on a real incident in Walajapet in Vellore district. It opens up with a powerful scene when Jai getting out of his house at the wee hours of the day for a normal chore, gets caught in an unfortunate situation after which the film goes into a flashback mode where things slowly get unraveled.
Pugazh is about a playground in a small town where the area youngsters use the same for sports activities. What happens when the area politician in connivance with the minister wants to usurp the ground for an ulterior motive, is the crux of the story.
There are times when we get attached with many inanimate subjects in our life which kind of become our identity. For the small town in the film, the playground is something which has seen generations come, play and go. It is part of their life and in a way it is a kind of a permanent belonging that they want to cherish and retain it for keeps.
A theme such as this, should have been done with a lot of power and verve. However, Pugazh slips on this ground majorly. Manimaran appears to have taken the route of dialogue based narrative for his film and Pugazh seems to be abounding in them. Inconsistency in the narration also acts against it.
For Jai, Pugazh offers a wide canvas to show his prowess and the actor is effective within this area. Surabhi’s character could have been etched with a little more care.
She lands herself a job in Hyderabad but the director conveniently places her back in her native town without an explanation. A scene or two involving Jai and Surabhi are cute and enjoyable.
Karunas as Jai’s brother does a neat job and scores well in an emotional scene in the second half when he speaks for his brother. RJ Balaji as Jai’s friend brings a smile whenever he gets a chance to say something.
Lyricist Piraisoodan, as the elder member of the town, hands in a matured performance, occasionally mouthing leftist dialogues. Marimuthu as the antagonist delivers well. DoP Velraj makes a cameo appearance.
The technical department of Pugazh is functional just about delivering what is needed for the film.
A premise on political drama could have easily hit the right chord if it had been handled with a lot more care. Pugazh falters on this note and ends up being a mediocre product.
Verdict: A political drama that could have been handled better