Friday, July 07, 2006

PuduPettai: One of the Better Gangster Movies in Recent Years

So... this is how 'Scarface' or 'City of Gods' would look if were a Tamil movie? I can see where these comparisons to Coppola and Manirathnam is coming from. Its technically savvy, very smooth, slick and well taken. The multiple cuts to show 'Kokki' Kumar's fear when he sleeps next to his dad, who has killed his mother a few hours ago and will kill him before dawn, is just awesome. Kumar urinates in his pant as he opens the door to escape from his dad. Its just a classic beginning to a very good movie. I know I am seeing this movie after everybody else has seen it. Its ran its heart out in box office (is it a hit?) and is probably out of the theatres by now. I found it to be way better than 'Sarkar'. Far more original and more bold. In a way Selvaraghavan is more raw and more grounded in reality than RGV or even Manirathnam. The latter made movies which had an urban middle-class way of looking at local gangsters. This movie, seems like one that is made by a gangster as a tribute to his mates. This is the real deal. Raw, unapologetic and cruel.

In contrast to other reviewers, I enjoyed the second half also. Yes! its way over the top. It takes an animal in 'kokki' kumar to bring him the upper echelons of the underworld. But the second half shows that he need brains to sustain himself there. Kumar doesn't have brains. He is an ape-man, a jungle animal, ushered into a VIP gansta' club by mistake. He plays that role to perfection. I simply loved the way he'd get to have sex with Sonia Agarwal. Like a cave-man he sees his friends sister and just grabs her. Like an ape trying to grab a fruit from another ape. He stupidly uses the same logic to get an MLA seat from his party leader, only to find that there are much more powerful apes in this world than him. In the cave-fight that follows (seriously if you tune out the language and replace it with growls, the scene is like an ape gathering in a primitive cave - with animals growling and intimidating each other), he cowers like an animal and flees.

In the case of grabbing Sonia, his friend's sister, seconds before her marriage, he honestly admits that if she refused to sleep with him, he'd just threaten to kill her brother. He honestly admits that even though someone close to him has just recently been shot dead, he still would like to sleep with her. She is beautiful in the classic sense, she's got a wonderful body and she calmly sleeps with him. Her only question, and she asks Kumar's preference on this, is if the light needs to be ON or OFF. No tamil ponnnu sentiment or anything extravagant. "Survival of the fittest" applies not only to Sonia Agarwal, it also applies to Sneha, as she just plays the pregnancy card to somehow stay with Kumar. It is a movie where all characters will do anything to stay alive. It does not preach morals or any other noble virtues. It stays unapologetic till the end. This could be the reason why the second half was not liked by many. If people expect some sort of retribution, change of heart or some goodness in 'kokki' Kumar, its not there. He is genuinely a bad person and that his childhood contributed to it - in no way alters or mitigates this fact.

It does have several logical flaws. Kumar fleeing in a tricycle after killing rival ganster's brother comes to mind. But it did not distract me from the overall charm of the movie. If you dont like violence this movie is not for you. Also, Selvaraghavan has this thing with women and sex. Its at a minimum - unconventional. Some could find that disagreeable. Its certainly not a 'family entertainer' and we have to thank Selvaraghavan for that. This is neither Nayagan or the next best thing to happen for Tamil Movies. It shows that Selvaraghavan has potential. And if he stays away from Dhanush and works with someone like Arya or Jeevan, he will do really well.


tilotamma said...

Funny - Krithiga and I were just talking about - how City of God could be dubbed in Tamil and released in Madurai to full houses.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Sorry to comment about your last post here... but that was just awesome!! I mean, I am already half-thanking God that I am going to Austin unfunded! :)

Grand post, sire! Will read this one now!

Hawkeye said...

Utex austin is a good school. dont worry about funding, you will get it sooner or later. everybody does. use the 120 day period (new rule) to go to austin atleast 45 days early and get urself a TA/GA/RA.

Nilu said...

elai hawkeye,
intha free advisa avan kettana? un thontharavu thaaanagala....

Hawkeye said...


sign of old age :-)

Casement said...


Manushan paappana antha padathai? Seri, naan pathennu yaarkittayum sollada!;)

Anonymous said...


I happened to see bits and pieces of this movie lately, the feedback that I've received is that the first half is slick and the second one a drag..

I saw the scene where he escapes after killing the rivals brother : though logically farfetched, the scene and whatever I saw had my full attention.

This is a good movie, way above Sarkar : like you have already mentioned.

The only aspect I'd disagree is that Selvaraghavan would do well without Dhanush. This ( Dhanush in Pudhupettai ) looks like one of the finest performances in recent time from a Tamil actor & he was also good in Kadhal Kondein. I do think he has immense acting potential.

BTW : Pudhupettai is a FLOP!

Deepa said...

Is Selvaraghavan as eccentric as "Sethu" Bala?

Jeevita said...

Kind of a late comment on this post, but I saw this movie only yesterday. I really liked it and I agree with you on most things about the movie!

The music was probably the weakest aspect of the entire movie, with Yuvan copying anything he could lay his hands on, including bits from his own father!