14 Nov, 2014 2 hrs 27 mins U/A
Sathyadev, S Madhan, Manoj Aiyoor, Nirmal, Aleena
In his eagerness to boast the valour of the rebels, the director has failed to capture the irony involved in the army winning the battle but losing the war

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  • Critic's Review
  • Times of India
Synopsis: Balaendran, the son of Kirubakaran, the leader of a rebel outfit, is captured by the army which hopes to capture the father by using the son as bait. Who wins in the end?

Movie Review: After Ravana Desam and Inam , here is another film on the Sri Lankan civil war. Pulipaarvai tries to capture the final days of the LTTE's battle against the Sri Lankan army during this civil war when both LTTE chief Prabhakaran and his son Balachandran were shot dead by the army. Unlike the other two films, this one is not about the people affected by the strife but about those involved in the fighting. However, maybe to avoid protests, names have been changed, flags blurred, certain dialogues muted and some costumes camouflaged. What this does is somewhat make it difficult to put the film in context, but the tone here is strongly pro-Tamil and also jingoistic.

The story is told through four different arcs. One involves the young Balaendran (Sathyadev), who takes a few kids to the graves of their fathers, but is ambushed by the military. He is captured but not before he cleverly gets his companions to safety. The second arc is about Amudhan (Nirmal), a soldier belonging to the Tigers, who falls in love with his comrade Mugilan's sister Selvi (Aleena), who is orphaned after her brother's death. He, too, is captured while on a mission but he offers to act as a courier and gets away. He deserts the organization and hopes to reach India with Selvi and lead a better life. Then, we have the army major Jayasekara (Manoj Aiyoor), who is impressed by the courage of Balaendran, and drives his young son to be as brave as him. And, finally, there is Kirubakaran (S Madhan), who has to choose between risking the lives of his soldiers to save his son and holding fort in a region witnessing heavy warfare.

Pravin Gandhi has come up with a great premise, especially in the context of a war film. We have a courageous young boy, his heroic father, a disillusioned soldier and a desperate army man — there is scope for enough drama and action in these characters. Yet, Pulipaarvai is only half the film it wants to be. The action thriller elements in this plot, including a rescue operation (in which the director himself makes an appearance), are unconvincingly executed that we do not feel the tension that these scenes should have. The rudimentary graphics don't help either and often, it is left to the bombastic score to carry the scene.

The emotional moments feel over the top, and the melodrama, especially in the scenes involving Amudhan and Selvi, resemble something that we normally see in television serials. The army men are pure caricatures and the actor playing a general, especially, just takes it to another level. Major Jayasekara, too, gets a similar treatment and there are no shades to his character.

But the scenes that have Balaendran hold up well, and that is mainly because of Sathyadev's impressive performance. Barring a few shots towards the end, the lad is able to convey the fearlessness that the character possesses. That he resembles Balachandran a bit also makes it that much more convincing. S Madhan, on the other hand, despite his physical features, lacks screen presence and so, we find it difficult to buy into Kirubakaran's command over his soldiers. The character gets an introductory scene that is as whistle worthy as that in a masala movie — he rises up from a pile of dead soldiers to annihilate the enemy soldiers, and then gets a song where he rouses them and inspires his soldiers. But after this, the character is letdown by the listless writing.

We are finally left with the feeling that Pravin Gandhi, in his eagerness to boast the valour of the rebels, has failed to convincingly capture the irony involved in the army winning the battle but losing the war.
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