Director: Chimbu Deven
Cast: Sridevi, Vijay, Shruti Haasan, Hansika Motwani
The story narration is jerky, sets are tacky, dubbing is atrocious and the background music is designed to puncture a hole in one’s eardrums
Not fair to compare, maybe, but one cannot help it. 'Puli', at best, looks like the poor, underfed cousin of 'Bahubali', the other fantasy film that we were treated to not so long ago. The setting is almost the same. Kings, queens, waterfalls and forests and a newborn child being found in the ocean, but Puli proves that director Chimbu Deven doesn’t even remotely share the grand vision of SS Rajamouli’s.
The charming Vijay plays a valiant hero, Marudheeran. His childhood sweetheart, Pavazhamani (Shruti Hassan) is kidnapped by the dreaded Vetaals and he’s on a mission to bring her back alive.
He, not so surprisingly, picks two of the most incompetent guys in the village, who are good at cracking bad jokes, as accomplices for the mission. On his adventurous journey, he meets a bunch of delightful dwarfs, who are dressed in peanut shells and the like. The story narration is jerky, the sets are tacky, the dubbing is atrocious and the background music is designed to puncture a hole in your eardrums. All this might have been tolerable if the story was interesting enough to hold attention. Sadly, the film fails even in that department as most of the time we are witness to Marudheeran single-handedly killing the numerous Vetaals, when not melodramatically professing his love to Pavazhamani.
Sridevi as an evil queen makes a grand entry after the interval. Things, however, don’t get any better, except that the accomplished actress makes a spectacular sight with her dramatic headgears. Vijay makes for a good hero figure, but is handicapped by the absence of anything substantial to do. Shruti and Hansika Motwani seem to be chosen specifically for their pretty faces and nothing more.