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Trivia / Goofs
Summary / Analysis
Times of India
A virtuous soldier Magadheera aka Puli (Tiger) vows to save his people from the rule of a cruel queen and her treacherous Marshal. Does good triumph over evil?
Puli (Tiger) is your Indian cinema version of Gulliver and the Lilliput's fairy tale. A lavishly mounted fantasy adventure, at the core it is basically a love-story.
In a faraway land, live a cruel tribe who go by the name of Betals. Blue eyes and Dracula fangs are their distinguishing features. They also have strange powers that can get them to fly like Batman and fight like Gladiators. Their only aim is to commit atrocities on some poor mortals living in the plains close to their kingdom.
Don't grieve just yet. When you think that the meek are doomed for life, baby Magadheera is found floating in the water surrounding this village. He is adopted and becomes a favourite. This place is also home to a pretty lass called Pawanmali (Shruti). The two marry secretly. But their happiness is short-lived because the Jaltarang (Sudeep), the cruel Betal marshal kidnaps Magadheera's loved one. In his quest to find his wife, Magadheera sets off to the Palace where the cruel queen (Sridevi) lives with her daughter Mandakini (Hansika). Of course, his journey is hardly without adventure. Before he can ride off into the sunset with his wife, he has to fight a one-eyed monster, maim a hundred Betals and sing songs with Mandakini.
Puli is a fantasy but its failing is that it is told in an amateur fashion. Coming as it does, after the humongous success of Bahubali that raised the bar as far as fantasy, animation and give-it-all-you-got cinema goes, Puli disappoints. The film works as a visual extravaganza, but it fails to entertain. Even Vijay fans may find it hard to lap up his snazzy song-routine. Sridevi's arched eyebrows are more expressive than the rest of her. Hansika and Shruti only wiggle their backsides and shake their bellies. Aah, even that's disappointing.
Dubbed and dumber
The success of Bahubali: The Beginning lent hope for fantasy films in India. But it also inspired this cheap imitation which shares a similar story.
Puli talks about the original inhabitants of a certain region (shown as South India on the map) being forcefully occupied by invaders called Vetals, who have blue eyes, can walk through flames and are always dressed in an armoured attire like the 'Knights who say Ni' (Monty Python and the Holy Grail). Their only hope, Marudheera (Vijay) embarks on a journey to cross swords with the Vetals, when they abduct his lady love Pavanballi (Shruti Haasan). The journey involves licking frogs for directions, seeking advice from giant turtles and teaming up with Lilliputians with archery skills.
The Vetals are ruled by an evil queen Yavanarani (Sridevi) who could kill with her looks (courtesy: exaggerated makeup), is a master of teleportation, climbs walls and does little else.
The most creative idea is the wardrobe brainwave of wrapping background dancers in peanut shell-shaped blouses. Vijay may be a superstar down south, but in this dubbed cinematic dud, he spouts dialogues like, "Hum pyaar ke liye poonch hila bhi sakte hain, aur kaat bhi sakte hain." Shruti Haasan and Hansika Motwani serve as petty props with few dialogues and their characters are inconsequential to the plot.
Sridevi's evil queen seems to be styled on what she did to Rohini Hattangadi in ChaalBaaz. But her character fails to intimidate and hollow dialogues take away from her performance. For a film that relies heavily of SFX and CG, this one fails to impress as most environments seem like stock footages and the creatures (except the turtle) seem poorly crafted.
Fantasy films allow defying logic, physics and biology, as long as it fascinates. This one makes a jaded attempt to recreate tested ideas and wages a war against one's brain cells.
Barely a couple of days before the release, Income Tax sleuths conducted raids at various places including Vijay’s home and resort, and the premises of the film’s producers, over inconsistencies in investments.
Since it’s a fantasy film, the costumes of the cast, particularly the actresses, were heavy. Sridevi has been quoted saying, “It wasn’t easy to carry so much weight and walk around. People used to carry my costume as I’d walk from my vanity van to the sets.”
The lavish set reportedly costing Rs 5 crore that was erected to shoot Vijay’s introduction song. 200 plus carpenters worked over two months to build the set.
The CGI (computer generated imagery) has been created by the same company created CGI for SS Rajamouli’s films like Magadheera, Eega and Bahubali.
Initial reports had linked Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone to the female lead roles, but high remuneration subsequently meant neither were signed.
It was after watching Naan Ee (Eega), that Chimbu Dewan envisioned how Sudeep would play the antagonist in Puli. Initially, the actor was apprehensive, but changed his mind after hearing the script.
The shoot started November 14 last year, with a song featuring Vijay and Hansika on a set replicating a castle. Untitled then, the film was referred to as Vijay 58, followed by titles like Garuda, Maareesan, Maru Dheeran and Por Vaal. It was only in January this year that the producers and director decided to title the movie Puli.
Initial reports had linked Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone to play the leading ladies, but high remuneration subsequently meant that neither was signed.
Hansika’s first memory of Sridevi is watching her film Sadma, also starring Kamal Haasan, when she was 10. Although too young to understand much, she admitted to have cried her lungs out, moved by Sri’s performance.
This is Vijay’s first film with Shruti Haasan and second with Hansika Motwani (after Velayudham). Incidentally, this film marks Shruti’s comeback to Tamil films after 3 with Dhanush.
After 29 years since Naan Adimai Ilai, starring superstar Rajinikanth, Sridevi is seen in a Tamil film (Puli). And that too in a negative role.
In October 2011, the corporate backed out citing escalating budget and Chennai based producer stepped in. However, the film eventually took off on after a third producer came on board in early 2014, after Chimbu narrated the script to Vijay who agreed to act in it.
Genelia D’Souza and Hansika Motwani were confirmed to play the leading female roles in the film, while Vadivelu was also reported to be a part of the cast.
The film has been in the news since January 2011 when it was first reported that Chimbu Deven was working on a ‘fantasy film set in contemporary times’ for a corporate conglomerate and Dhanush was subsequently signed on to play the leading role.
It is Ilayathalapathi Vijay's 58th film. Vijay is playing a double role in this film.
Puli (Tiger) is a fantasy adventure that tackles the age-old belief that good always triumphs over evil. The Ancient kingdom is under the rule of the powerful queen (Sridevi) and her clever Marshal (Sudeep) who like to control the people with their twisted ways. Puli or Magadheera(Vijay) who goes in search of his loved one Pawanmali(Shruti Haasan) to Sridevi's palace not only brings his wife back he also fights the evil queen and kills her cunning marshal.
In the palace, Mandakini, the princess born to Sridevi falls for Magadheera. However, he loves only his childhood friend Pawanmali whom he has secretly married before she was kidnapped. 'Puli'(Tiger) revolves around the intense rivalry between a cruel queen and a virtuous warrior who ends her reign of terror, frees the King of the Betals and brings back happiness to the villagers around.
Treated like an action fantasy, the film offers spectacular visuals of an imposing palaces, gushing water-falls, green forests and some great song and dance sequences.