‘Pulikkuthi Pandi’ movie review: A regular Muthaiah affair with an interesting surprise

A screengrab from ‘Pulikkuthi Pandi’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Allow me to begin this review with a confession: I wasn’t aware of Pulikkuthi Pandi nor did I show remote interest in checking out the film, until a colleague of mine messaged with: “Why don’t you? It’s good apparently.” But that’s the thing with Muthaiah’s films, right? You don’t necessarily look forward to them unless someone tells you to, or puts a gun to your head — hey, Pulikkuthi Pandi is not that bad, but is definitely not good.

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It is still a bad film because the scenes keep hanging here and there. It is still a bad film because characters walk in and out, as if they were inside a mall. It is still bad because if you turn the screenplay pages — if there were any that is — you will find these headings in bold: Action (turns page). Song (turns page). More action. Two more get the drill.

At least in the previous Muthaiah films, you made an effort to follow the plot. That goes for a toss here. You don’t care that Vikram Prabhu tries his best to live up to the expectations of a sandiyar that Muthaiah seems to flirt with. Film after film. You don’t care for the cold-blooded villain Sannasi (Vela Ramamurthy), a loan shark, nor for his cold-blooded son Saravedi (RK Suresh). You don’t care for the heroine Pechi’s (Lakshmi Menon) father and the role he played in shaping Pandi’s past and to an extent, his future. You don’t care for the songs, the fights, comedians, villains that pretty much take up the entire first half. You don’t care for anything until the second half kicks in, when the film gets mildly interesting — mind you, only mildly.

Pulikkuthi Pandi
  • Cast: Vikram Prabhu, Lakshmi Menon, Vela Ramamurthy, Samuthirakani and RK Suresh
  • Director: M Muthaiah
  • Storyline: Set in Sivaganga, Pulikkuthi Pandi stands up for what is right, even if that means taking to violence. He decides to lead a “family man’s” life when he marries Pechi, but gets sucked up into the circle of violence.

Pulikkuthi Pandi truly comes alive in the last 45 minutes, for what it does. It is definitely not a twist, but a surprise that takes you by, well, surprise. It’s the sort of a surprise you wouldn’t foresee in a Muthaiah film, but it is the sort that would make you reconsider the possibilities of the film being a bad one. It has something to do with Pechi and her immediate family, standing up for what’s right, or rather, what they think is justice. It is what Mysskin did in Yudham Sei. And like that film, Pechi and her family wage a war.

The way Muthaiah imagines the Pechi character (it isn’t coincidence that she is named after a deity) in the climatic portion reminded me of what Kamal Haasan said in a recent conversation on Virumaandi, particularly about the closure that Annalakshmi (played by Abhirami) ended up getting, which largely translates to the kind of film Pulikkuthi Pandi (another deity’s name) is. He said, “Siru deivatha paatha maari irukum (She [Annalakshmi] is like a small deity).”

That analogy, perhaps, holds true for Pulikkuthi Pandi and Pechi. It is, in essence, about a goddess taking matters into her own hands, to triumph over evil. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the film is an achievement of sorts, though, this small little invention could be construed as a step up for Muthaiah.

Pulikkuthi Pandi is currently streaming on Sun NXT

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 4:55:47 AM |

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