Synopsis: A rich man chooses to lead the life of a beggar for 48 days in the hope that his mother, who is on her deathbed, will recover.
Review: Vijay Antony is hardly expressive and his dialogue delivery remains the same be it an emotional scene or an action scene. But he has displayed an uncanny ability in selecting roles that suit his limited range — he certainly looks the part in all these roles. As in his debut film Naan, in Pichaikkaran, too, he plays a character who is living with a false identity, and has to speak as little as possible so that he doesn't give away his true identity. But the film is far removed from Naan. That was a thriller, but this one is a melodramatic action film that seems to be the actor's first step in moving into the mass hero league.
He plays Arul, a multi-millionaire, whose mother Bhuvaneshwari (Deepa) ends up on her deathbed following a freak accident. A godman tells him that he can save his mother if he can live as a beggar for 48 days without revealing his true identity. Arul decides to do so and becomes part of a group of beggars. He also strikes up a relationship with Maghilini (Satna Titus), the girl he had intended to marry, but doesn't reveal his true self to her. Meanwhile, he gets embroiled with gangsters and has to fight for life. And there is also his uncle (Muthuraman), who is hatching his own plans to take over his properties in his absence.
Like his previous film, India Pakistan, Pichaikkaran is content at being a crowd pleaser, even though its director, Sasi is known for the realistic Poo. The set-up feels like an anti Arunachalam. In that film, a servant accepts a challenge to be rich man for 30 days so that he can fulfill his father's wishes. Here, the rich Arul becomes a pauper to save his mom. And the film also gives itself caveats so that it doesn't have to present Arul as a beggar all the time. This cheat sheet — Arul can take off his beggar disguise and behave as a normal man after 6pm — allows the director to build up the romance between Arul and Maghilini.
Arul's transition into the life of a beggar is done mostly at a surface level. We see him living with beggars, but we hardly feel that he is living as one. And the set of beggars seem to be well-to-do ones. After an initial scene, we never see Arul having to put up with hunger or the lack of a shelter. There are also too many coincidences. Like when the beggars gatecrash a wedding where the heroine is also present; or the scene where Arul beats up gangsters and finds his friend waiting for him; the heroine, too, happens to be at the place. Even in the climax, we see a villain turn up at the exact spot where Arul is chasing a gangster.
But these niggles don't affect the film so much because the tone is that of an old-fashioned masala movie. Time and again, Arul beats up the men who try to attack him (he even uses a corn cob to maim his attackers) or those close to him, and we can't help but cheer his actions. And Sasi amps up the melodrama at crucial moments, like in the climax when Arul has to choose between revealing his identity and saving a life and protecting his identity and saving his mother, that the narrative is mostly propelled by the emotions in this tale.