Popular television personality Vijay Adhiraj debuts as director with Puththagam (U). Naturally it kindles curiosity. When you hear that Arya’s brother enters the fray with the film, your interest in the project increases. The feverish promos for a product made on a comparatively moderate budget are surprising. So the urge to take a look is more.

The opening scenes with Big FM’s Balaji giving the voiceover in his inimitable style set the mood for a levity-filled fare. Yet, how much of your expectation does Puththagam satisfy?

Three friends who struggle to make ends meet stumble upon piles of currency, is the line around which Adhiraj has tried to weave a yarn of romance, adventure and thrill. New face Sathya and budding actors Sanjay Bharati and Vignesh play the trio.

The verve and buoyancy expected of a young hero aren’t to be seen much in Sathya’s actions or reactions. His placid expressions only pull down the energy levels of this youth-oriented film. Compensation for the languor comes from Rakul Preet, the heroine, whose smiling eyes and bubbly demeanour are appreciable elements of Puththagam.

Incidentally, the purpose of actors such as ‘Delhi’ Ganesh, ‘Crazy’ Mohan and Santhana Bharati in the film beats you. But even in the small role ‘Thalaivaasal’ Vijay makes his presence felt. Not merely because it is a significant cameo but also because of the nuances Vijay lends to his portrayal.

Stereotypical villainy and insipid heroism are the bane of Puththagam. The baddies are mere caricatures and when the story makes them do inexplicable turnabouts even a veteran like Telugu actor Jagapati Babu looks predictable. And his repetitive punch lines are clichés you can do without. Manobala is ubiquitous these days. But the roles he plays, like in Puththagam, don’t evoke even a smile, leave alone laughter.

Nowhere is the narration gripping. The director seems to have allowed the chance to make an engaging film slip through his fingers, because his screenplay is inept, choice of cast isn’t anything to write home about, and characters lack consistency. For example, Radhakrishnan is supposed to be lazy, but seems quite active after the intro.

When you notice Sanjay Bharati’s superior, the young girl at his office, duet with him in Pattaya along with the lead pair you aren’t quite sure when the love had fructified! Is it a case of misjudgement at the editing table?

An interesting plot that has the potential to be a racy adventure suffers because of a prosaic screenplay.

Puththagam

Genre: Suspense

Director: Vijay Adhiraj

Cast: Sathya, Rakul Preet, Sanjay Bharati, Vignesh

Storyline: Wealth from an unknown source leads three friends to adventure and action.

Bottomline: Treatment doesn’t work.