A British girl is sitting inside a Tamil household, and speaking with who could possibly be her future father-in-law. The warm, Ulaganathan (Sathyaraj), is telling her (Jessica, played by Maria Riaboshapka) that he knows everything and that she could ask him any doubts, especially if it has to do with the Tamil language.
Prince is a collection of such 'jokes'. Strike that. It has two or three funny lines - most of which have anyway been packaged in the trailer - but the irreverent laugh riot that the makers promised in the promotional interviews seems to have gone missing.
Anbu is based out of a village near Pondicherry but the place isn't real; it's a fictional place where everyone is simple and irreverent. There's a school student who writes a love letter based on a subtitle text he once saw. There's a vegetable vendor who proudly says he knows what bottle gourd is, but he doesn't. And then, there's our protagonist, who actually writes and signs a letter promising his father that he would marry only out of his caste. All these are good ideas on paper, but when it translates to actual scenes on screen, the silly irreverence doesn't hit you as well as it should.
Anudeep KV, who earlier gave us the Telugu hit Jathi Ratnalu, does have a different sense of humour when writing. The jokes aren't meant to pull someone's leg, as is usually the case. They are just simple, silly lines, and mostly out of context, which is supposed to be its USP. But his Prince comes across as just a collection of jokes that belong to a comedy serial.
The core storyline revolves around Anbu’s love for Jessica, but there’s no emotional investment there. The love scenes hardly work; they dangerously veer into humour territory. Maria Riaboshapka’s scenes are passable, and her dance moves in a song show promise, but there’s no meat in the romantic track. Sathyaraj has a commanding presence, as usual, but Premgi Amaren hardly makes an impression. As for Sivakarthikeyan, coming off fresh from the success of Doctor and Don, this is a film he could have done in his sleep. It doesn’t tap into any of his newfound confidence or skills, and rather, is content with highlighting his standard stock of funny expressions and counter dialogues.
What it does explore, though, is his dance skills, which have indeed come a long way since his initial days in the film industry. Watch his feet dart swiftly in the catchy ‘Jessica’ song (music by Thaman), or the fast moves in the ‘Bimbilikki Pilapi’ track. Now, what on earth is ‘Bimbilikki Pilapi’? That’s probably for Prince 2, a film we hope will never get made.