'Padaiveeran' review: Caste and effect

Vijay Yesudas in Padaiveeran   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Padaiveeran turns the basic premise of the 10-year-old Paruthiveeran on its head. In the 2007 critically-acclaimed film, Karthi, making his debut, was a country brat whose only ambition was to be thrown in jail. In Padaiveeran, which marks Vijay Yesudas’ debut as hero, his only aim is to become a policeman.

That’s not because of any noble intentions. He wants to become a cop because he realises that a policeman earns money, respect (and free booze). He makes that his life goal. However there’s a stumbling block: he lacks every skill that is required of a policeman. In order to get into the police force, he has to bribe his way in...and so he has to resort to stealing.

The basic premise of director Dhana’s Padaiveeran on paper is quite appealing: it is Paruthiveeran meets Theeran (interestingly, both are Karthi films). The director ticks the right boxes in a few departments straight away; the casting (Vijay Yesudas is a revelation and Amritha fits in her role aptly) and the staging of a few sequences (watch out for one in which Munish goofs up during training at the police academy, as his friends are getting beaten up back home).

  • Film: Padaiveeran
  • Director: Dhana
  • Cast: Vijay Yesudas, Bharathiraja, Amritha
  • Storyline: A villager aims to become a cop and gets embroiled in a caste clash

But he gets carried away in the process. The minute he feels the need to address caste issues dominating the Theni milieu, Padaiveeran loses its fizz and becomes a different film. While there are some pertinent points (Bharathiraja makes a mark as ex-serviceman Krishnan), the film’s flavour changes from the light-hearted rural drama it could have been to a heavy message-spouting vehicle. Composer Karthik Raja’s tunes are hummable but the songs do serve as speed-breakers at times.

Vijay Yesudas gives his all out to play Munishwaran, a character with many quirks. Not only does he look the part, he also gets the slang right. Just compare the anglicised way he says “health” in the pre-movie smoking/drinking disclaimers to the way he delivers his lines in the movie... Padaiveeran belongs to him all right.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 2:41:10 PM |

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