Manyam Puli

Forest is the place where every species can live true to itself. They need not laugh unnecessarily, feel awkward, embarrassed and most specially don’t have to cheat others to raise to the top. They live to survive and are happy to do that. What if some pure hearts from Forest are brought into human society and try to corrupt them as well? Is it right? Can someone help them or do they have to become an animal themselves and hunt them down?

Plot : One person hiding his face enters into a village Puliooru somewhere in Manyam, that is, Vizayanagaram forest area and asks for a person named ‘Puli’ Kumar (Mohan Lal). The forest based village is grief struck and scared by the random attacks by a man-eater Tiger. They are waiting for Kumar who left the place with his family to comeback. He is the master at hunting man-eaters. At a very young age he looses his mother as she could not survive the trauma of pregnancy and child birth. Kumar becomes the mother of his brother Subramani (Vinu Mohan). But one unfortunate day, while escaping from Forest officers Kumar’s father is killed by a man-eater. Kumar with the help of his uncle hunts the tiger down and gets his revenge. From then on he is treated as an Avatar of Lord Muruga in the forest. Kumar works as a lorry driver carry goods for his hometown and near by villages from tier 2 towns. Shiva and his friend enter the village seeking for ganja from Forest and they are friends of Subramani. They promise a nice job and secure life for Kumar too. Kumar for his brother decides to help them. He loves his brother-in-law Balaram (Lal). His wife Myna (Kamilini Mukherjee) is lusted over by a forest ranger officer (Sampath) and for her, Kumar fights with him. To escape the police and arrest he escapes with ganja load with Shiva. He meets Daddy Girija (Jagapathi Babu). Who is he? What happens next and who is person looking for Kumar? Watch it unfold on screen!

Performances : Mohan Lal shows his starry side in this film after confining to more artistic roles since Drushyam. His last film Oppam also became a huge hit but it was more about his acting talent than celebrating his star status. After Narasimham, Mohan Lal never looked in such form again in a complete out and out action entertainer. It is no wonder Kerala and Malayalees lapped up the film. He thrashes, punches, twists, summersaults and mouths punch dialogues, even terrorises man-eaters. He is just the package that a mass hero of his stature can be and he doesn’t disappoint at all. He put in a lot of work to get the stunts right without body doubles and the effort shows on screen.

Lal plays a crucial role and he is in his element in the film. Jagapathi Babu does what he has been doing since Legend days, being a loud harsh bad guy and he does that with ease again. Makarand Deshpande, Vinu Mohan are in the film and their roles are confined to deliver lines or fight when required. Kamilini Mukherjee was given a role who is not so happy with her man. But she sticks to one expression and one expression only. A bit irritating that gets over the run time. Namitha is used as a woman who lusts over Mohan Lal and infuriates Myna further. Kattipudi kattipudi da indeed.

Technicalities : When you’re said that a film has become Industry Hit in one language and asked to watch, you unconsciously start judging the film on its writing merits and even form an opinion on said language audience taste. Here writer Uday Krishna laced the script with local cultural references that are Alien to Telugu audience but Rajasekhar, the telugu dialogue writer does try to localise it as much as possible. But the flavour that the original audience would enjoy will be an alien to Telugu people no matter what.

Uday the screenplay, does show some level of maturity in planning the sequences but the payoffs are entirely routine and unless you’re invested in the stardom of the Megastar like Mohan Lal you’re just watching another Telugu Film. It is Mohan Lal who impresses you and gives a difference to the proceedings.

One thing that doesn’t go down well is the usage of Adult humor even though it seems unnecessary. To use a guy who peeps through women bathing and using Namitha as a showpiece does hurl the movie pace. When you have a story and characters that can generate clean humour what is the need to resort to such stupidity only Uday and Vysakh can explain.

Peter Hein once again proves why he is a celebrated fight master by composing some nail biting sequences to keep audience happy. But the sequences do get repetitive in the middle until few external interesting fighters are added in the climax. On the whole he proved to be an asset to the film. Cinematography by Shaji Kumar should be praised. He just never lets you take away your eyes from the proceedings on screen and you are presented them with great quality.

VFX teams should be complimented on their job with the heavy wire work and also for creating real looking tigers for film. Music by Gopi Sundar is apt for film and the Puli ra Puli ra .. Back Ground Score stands out. He is an asset with his score for the film. But the final mixer could have worked on the loud mixing a little bit more. At places it gets too irritatingly loud.

Director Vysakh plans the sequences well and handled the material in the way it was supposed to be. It was a playing to the gallery subject and he did exactly same. He with his team made a film that can make any Tollywood commercial director proud and wannabes to get inspired from. It could have been easily Chiru’s 150 or Balakrishna’s 100 had they have not committed early.

Analysis : Stars usually try to select subjects that show off their box office strength and improve their star power even further. But Malayalam industry has been a place where such kind of outlook was very occasional. Mohan Lal and Mammootty have been mixed bags with brilliant performances at the same time with such box office money spinners. This Puli Murugan is nothing new for Telugu audience but with the love that we show towards such formulaic material that worked out perfectly. This movie is a watchable one too.

Rating : 2/5

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