Avinash Pandian


Puli is Vijay's Enthiran, Ilayathalapathy, Vijay


I have been writing too many news articles on Puli over the past year and a half, and now I have literally exhausted all my adjectives to describe this film. Nonetheless, I now have a new term to associate it with - TROLL. Puli is unofficially the most trolled film at the moment, and has found itself a fair share of haters amidst an adequate number of takers too. Though I tilt more towards the former group, Vijay’s idea to associate himself with such a unique script took me by a pleasant surprise and filled me with babyish joy.

Puli always looked to be a trick or treat film. On paper, it looks exhilarating, with magic, animals which could talk and some Lilliput human beings. All these facets give you a congenial feel about it, attached with an amount of risk too.

One thing that I have against Puli is the overdone, not so required mass moments in the film. If he is going for fantasy he should go full-fledged. Overdose of heroism made me feel that it was neither a commercial film nor an experimental film. I also felt that the makers gave away too much in the trailers, misusing all their trump cards. It would have been super surprising if I was witnessing Vijay crossing the fire tunnel in the theatre first, instead of seeing it in the trailer. The same goes with the tortoise, Lilliput and the one-eyed giant.

Nevertheless, Vijay’s initiative is commendable and that is why I felt it was more important to talk about the takeaways that I found in Puli than talking about what didn't work.

Technically the film looked good to me, in spite of few goof ups here and there, which however is excusable considering the time limitation and constraints. Yet the CGI overall looked spectacular, specially the huge tortoise and the one eyed giant which were so scarily pleasant to the eyes.

Such daringly different attempts require good reception and a big opening. You need people between the projector and the screen to keep the game going. And to bring in tons and tons of them, some of the very top superstars in the industry like Vijay is definitely required.

Seriously, when was the last time you saw a commercial mass hero try his hands at experimentation? Rajini did it with Enthiran and you could also count Suriya for doing 7am Arivu and Maattrraan. Actors like Kamal Haasan cannot be taken into this comparison, as he just doesn’t mind his image. You even ask him to walk naked, and he would do it for the art.

Now let us check out the odds on why Vijay had to do such a tricky storyline. Going by his track record, he could have safely chosen a typical mass masala film with a bonafide mix of action, comedy and sentiment and even if he could only grind out an average product out of it, he still has a potential winner in his hands. But to everyone’s surprise here, this 'go to man' pops out a freakishly unique fantasy film which his fans wouldn’t have expected even in their dreams. For Vijay to do this, particularly at this point of his career, is probably the most amazing thing that he could do for the industry, in my opinion.

Comparing Puli with a Hollywood film would be awkward but there are things that a Tamil film could be proud of, especially the fantasy elements and the CGI work. In order to prevent the industry from going stale, you need such films at regular intervals.

Vijay might have found some haters through Puli but the people who are criticizing Vijay now are probably the same ones who used to pull his legs when he was doing similar kind of commercial roles.

The success of Puli is critical. One thing that I am scared regarding Puli’s outcome is, if it fails, it may set a bad precedent that experiments are bound to fail. Not just Vijay, even the other top actors who are genuinely trying to bring in a difference might think twice before stepping out to do a daring film.

How will Vijay go about things from here? He has a massive fan following, who will keep demanding a fully cooked masala dish peppered with some new age ideas. On the other hand, now there is another set of audience (may be very microscopic in number) like me who would want Vijay to continue experimenting more like Puli. Never mind if it’s half-baked, because one day he will definitely serve us a more fulfilling dish that could probably take the industry to a different league.

Now Vijay has a huge responsibility of experimenting as well as keeping his mass fan following intact. It would be ideal for him to experiment once in a while.

For now, I'll say, Thank you Vijay for experimenting!


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