Cast: Vijay, Shruti Haasan, Hansika Motwani, Sridevi, Kichcha Sudeep, Thambi Ramaiah, Robo Shankar, Ali and Prabhu
Director: Chimbu Deven
The latest fantasy film to hit the screens is Vijay-starrer Puli. In keeping with the present trend of socio-fanstasy/ adventure films, the film has been released in multiple languages. Goes without saying, it has some heavy duty graphics and an equally big star cast.
Thanks to Baahubali and Robo, the film has been hyped a lot and director Chimbu Devan has been claiming that it will cross their mark pretty easily.
For starters, the film has some really badly written romantic situations and some stomach-churning comedy scenes. You almost sit up hoping that the second half will bring some relief. But the second half is also disappointing, despite the presence of Sridevi. Though she has been a top actress, her no-expression look is totally disappointing especially to her fans.
So, one can say that director Chimbu Devan totally fails to make use of the possibilities the script could offer.
Unfortunately, the director fails to create the magic world that he wants us transported to. In fact, the director fails to make even the basic story interesting.
Another biggest flaw is the really bad costumes which do not help you feel the time and location the film is set in.
Vijay look is a disaster thanks to blue contact lenses, badly designed leather jackets and hair dye. On the other hand, Shruti Haasan's character is too well-dressed as her character is from a small settlement in Chambal valley. Also, there is no difference in costumes as far as Hansika who plays the heroine and Shruti who plays Mandara Malli are concerned.
As for the cast and their performances are concerned, Sridevi stands out as a total disaster as she appears to be totally out of sync with the story and her expressions are completely stone-cold. Vijay is known to have a limitation when it comes to emoting. One is left feeling that Siddharth was much better in Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu. Another star Sudeep is also wasted in a badly conceived script.
Cinematography is good enough, but the director totally fails when it comes to visual effects which are at their best in Tollywood films. Once Vijay goes to Betala kingdom, one hopes to get some action, but neither Sridevi who plays childish games by teleporting nor Sudeep provide any scope for some interesting scenes.
Also, the hero behaves differently in different scenes. For example, in one scene, he appears to be scared of a tortoise, but later, he is seen fighting with a black tiger. It's only when one sees one-eyed demon does one get the feel of an animation film.
In all, one ends up waiting for the film to end and incidentally, Chimbu Devan is the story-writer, director and dialogue writer for the film. Though the director fails totally, the film will make money only in areas where Vijay has a huge market and on Sridevi's stardom.
Ironically, in the past, SJ Surya wanted to make Puli with Vijay. That Puli went to Pawan Kalyan and Vijay ended up doing Chimbu Devan's Puli.
Bottomline: Don't go anywhere near Puli.