STORY : Pulimurugan is revered in his hamlet for hunting and killing tigers that venture into human territory and attack people. However, an errand for his family takes him beyond the forest, leaving his village vulnerable to man-eaters and him fending off unfamiliar foes. How Murugan deals with these challenges form the plot.
REVIEW : Director Vysakh’s ‘Pulimurugan’ has been in the making for over a year and the audience expectation has fluctuated during the period, with its continuous pushing of release dates for re-shoots and post production work. So much that the anticipation has partly fizzled out and the filmmaker could have easily buckled under all that pressure of it being one of Mohanlal’s biggest films. However, that’s definitely not the case.
The movie’s protagonist ‘Pulimurugan’, is a proverbial saviour for his villagers as he kills man-eaters that saunter into their territory. That plotline makes for several hunting sequences with tigers. The movie’s strength though is a fleshed out story and pacy screenplay that takes its protagonist out of the wild and puts him in the world of ruthless men – a scenario where the hunter becomes the prey. This leaves his village vulnerable to the predators and him fending off unfamiliar foes. How Murugan and his family try and overcome these challenges make the movie.
The film starts out introducing the audience to a pre-teen Murugan avenging the death of his father, who was killed by a tiger. The first 15 minutes are gripping with the chase between the man-eater and the boy clearly setting the mood for a stylish film. However, that’s not all that its director and scriptwriter Udaykrishna deliver. The movie has a good enough story to keep the audience engaged while providing ample thrills through Peter Hein-choreographed fantastic action sequences.
In the first half, Mohanlal though looks old to play the part, and his energy and screen presence is found lacking. However, by the second half, his character is fleshed out and the protagonist truly delivers. The movie doesn’t have any punch dialogues but has enough charismatic scenes to have the fans raving about. Lal and Suraj Venjaramoodu play able sidekicks to the superstar. Kamalinee Mukherjee as Pulimurugan’s wife Myna and Jagapati Babu as Daddy Girija too do justice to their characters.
The movie could have done away with a character or two. Makarand Deshpande and Kishore have roles that move the story forward but at times they come off as an afterthought.
The action department deserves applause for making the scenes believable and stylish. It could have been easy to make the action go over the top, especially when the protagonist is a wild hunter outwits a 400 kg tiger with ease. The editing is crisp. Gopi Sundar is in top form with a brilliant accompaniment of rousing theme music that adds to the movie’s mass elements.
Though the plot is nothing new, it’s well presented with the editing department making the 161-minute runtime a breeze.
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Mohanlal, who plays the role of a wild hunter Murugan opposite Kamalini Mukherjee, is expected to enthrall the audience with some exciting action sequences with a tiger in the action thriller. The 20-minute climax scene, choreographed by popular stunt master Peter Hein is said to be the highlight of the movie.
Pulimurugan begins with the childhood days of Murugan (Ajas), who is on a mission to kill a puli along with his uncle Balaraman (Lal) for mauling his father (Santhosh Keezhattoor) in front of his eyes. He soon becomes the saviour for Puliyur natives, who fear frequent tiger attacks in the village. Apart from the fighting sequences with the tigers/leopards, the movie also narrates Murugan’s (Mohanlal) family moments in the backdrop of a revenge story.
For Mohanlal fans, who get goosebumps seeing the star folding his mundu or showing exceptional fighting skills, have many moments to cheer, clap and whistle to while watching Pulimurugan. Though Mohanlal doesn’t deliver any punch dialogues, his screen presence and thrilling action sequences are the USPs of the action thriller. Despite being a 56-year-old, the flexibility he has while performing the stunts deserves a special mention.
Namitha as Julie, a woman who is infatuated with the macho style of Murugan has nothing much to do, other than being a sexy woman with sensual looks. Bala, Kishore, Makarand Deshpande and Siddique have also done their parts neatly.
Direction and technical aspects
Though director Vysakh’s recent movies were disasters at the box office, Pulimurugan has become one of his career best till date. The filmmaker has made Pulimurugan a mass entertainer with just one aim — utilisation of Mohanlal in the best way possible.
Graphics play an important role in Pulimurugan, especially the fight scenes of Mohanlal with puli. Though poor SFX have ruined the essence of the plot in many recent movies, looks like producer Tomichan Mulakupadam was ready to spend a huge sum of money to make the visual effects in the Mohanlal-starrer look excellent. Popular stunt master Peter Hein has well choreographed the action in Pulimurugan. Though people in the film (read enemies of Mohanlal) were seen flying just like in any Telugu action thriller, the fights are appealing for audience who expect a mass thriller from the superstar. The foreign fighters seen in the climax scene entertain with few innovative stunts.
Cinematographer Shaji Kumar has captured many breathtaking visuals at the dense forests in Silent Valley, Attappadi, Mamalakandam and Pooyamkutty. The action sequences presented with slow motion camera moves are also thrilling. The background music by Gopi Sunder is spot on and the song Murugan Murugan Pulimurugan is sure to remain in the minds of audience even after leaving the theatre.Drawbacks
When it comes to the plot, Pulimurugan is not an extraordinary movie as it has a predictable storyline scripted by Udayakrishna. It is a masala entertainer to hail Murugan, who is like a superman — even if he is being attacked by 100 people together, he gets hurt at times only, but is sure to defeat each of his enemies. To be precise, the makers of Pulimurugan have utilised the stardom of Mohanlal by making it a clichéd movie for the superstar to shine. Apart from the action, it doesn’t have anything to boast of.
Pulimurugan is made to entertain fans of Mohanlal and it does justice without making the movie-goers feel bored, even if you are not an ardent fan of the star. It is a watchable thriller, where you get to see the powerful performance of Mohanlal along with some fresh stunt. Yes, it can be called as the Malayalam version of a masala Telugu thriller, nevertheless, it is far better.
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