Saravanan starts a construction company with his friend Prabhu, who has put in money that belongs to his employer Sundar, a loan shark and a goonda. When Sundar realizes this, he demands the money back but Saravanan is cheated by a middleman...
Fed up with his unappreciative boss, Saravanan decides to start his own construction set-up but he can only get plots far out of the city in his budget. So, his friend Prabhu, who is employed with Sundar, a merciless loan shark, hits upon a seemingly great idea. With Sundar in jail, they will take his money without his knowledge for the time being and replace it before the boss comes out of prison. They get a nice site from Shahstri, a middleman, and complete the registration. But only then they learn that the site belongs to someone else and Shastri has made away with their money. Worse, Sundar gets out on bail earlier than expected. And, he is not just after the money but after the women in both their families. Can they track down Shastri before it is too late?
From the early scenes in
, one might assume (wrongly) that this is another version of
. As in that film, the hero is a civil engineer who doesn't believe in working in any other field than what he had studied for. However, unlike that film's hero, he has a job in a construction company. And there the similarity ends. For, Poriyaalan is more like a North Madras padam in the vein of Vetri Maaran's (who is the producer here)
. This one, too, is about a youngster's brush with a gangster. There is the hero who is responsible and yet cuts loose when it comes to having fun. The parents are ordinary middle class people. Both the heroes lose something dear, which leaves them under the mercy of the villain. Then, there is the Neram connection as well — a young man frantically trying to rustle up cash and settle the money he owes a loan shark before a ticking deadline. Even the resolution (especially the fate of the villain) is similar in both the movies.
The acting, especially by the leads, is just functional, the lip-sync is off in quite a few places for some actors, and there is a slapdash feel to the editing that the film feels scrappy at times. And, then, there is the romantic track, which sticks out like a third ear. It is not just uninteresting but also an infuriating one. It also makes us wonder why our filmmakers bother with a love interest for a hero in a genre film. At least, if the lead pair is stars, one can justify by saying that fans of the stars would like to watch scenes and songs of them together but when the leads are relatively unknowns, why bother? If it is done for the sake of the songs, which, in turn, translate into visibility for the film on TV channels and FM stations, here, they are just pedestrian. This film would have ended at least 20 minutes early without it and been even more thrilling. If there is a saving grace, it is one delightful scene where Saravanan has to pass off as Shanthi's brother before her college principal (Delhi Ganesh is terrific in a cameo).
If the film succeeds, it is mainly because of its screenplay by Mani Maaran. It gradually takes us into the world of real estate and construction business and shows us the seamy side of the trade. Barring one hard-to-believe turn — Saravanan going to meet his lover Shanthi when he has Shastri (Mohan Raman plays the slippery middleman with the right amount of vulnerability and crookedness) with him, it manages to hit the right buttons to keep us on the edge of the seat. It is racy, thrilling and entertaining. What more do you want from a genre film?