Synopsis: A young man in need of cash to solve his personal problems gets into a tangle with a counterfeit money laundering racket.
Review: Can you hold on to your values when life has become an absolute struggle? This is the central conflict of Paambu Sattai, which has some moving moments and superb songs by debutant Ajesh, but is let down by the uneven writing, overlong romance portions and a muddled final act.
The plot revolves around Dakshinamoorthy (Bobby Simhaa, in an ill-fitting wig), a school dropout who lives with his widowed sister-in-law, Malar (Banu). After stalk-wooing Veni (Keerthy Suresh), he manages to win her love, but her father, Kannan (Charlie), is uncomfortable with this match because of whispers of an illicit relationship between Dakshina and Malar. For the sake of Dakshina’s love, Malar agrees to marry Jeeva, a share auto driver, but Jeeva is in debt and can marry her only after clearing that. That is when Dakshina reaches out to Rajendran (Guru Somasundaram, in yet another slimy-guy role), a financier who is involved with a counterfeit money laundering group, headed by Shanmugam (K Rajan). But, Dakshina loses his own money during a police raid at the group’s den, and gets into a situation where he has to launder money for them. What does he decide?
Paambhu Sattai has a thematic similarity with Sathuranka Vettai (which was also produced by Mano Bala), though here, the protagonist is someone whose beliefs are the exact opposite of that film’s hero. Dakshina is a very relatable character, someone who wants to hold on to his values and scrambles to come up with the money that Jeeva needs. We fully get it when he is tempted to do something unlawful. This kind of empathy towards his character is what makes the film work to an extent. Adam Dasan also shows that he has a progressive outlook in the way he depicts the Dakshina-Malar relationship.
But the romantic track is regressive. In fact, when Dakshina lays his eyes on Veni for the first time (she is, of course, helping someone on the road), all he can think of is to go and kiss her on the lips! And he does that a few scenes later, when he gets irritated by her friends’ teasing! The pacing, too, suffers because these portions go on and on that we want to yell, ‘Just get on with the story’ at the screen. And the developments in the second half feel less organic and more a function of the plot, which makes us question the plausibility of the events.