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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Pattas review: Dhanush is excellent in this formulaic film

Pattas movie review: Pattas, starring Dhanush, Sneha and Mehreen Pirzada, has "style", but less substance.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Written by S Subhakeerthana | Chennai | Updated: January 15, 2020 9:41:31 pm
Pattas review Pattas movie review: Pattas bothers only about Dhanush and his double role.

Pattas movie director: Durai Senthilkumar
Pattas movie cast: Dhanush, Sneha, Mehreen Pirzada
Pattas movie rating: 2.5 stars

Mass commercial outings, you like it or not, follow a certain pattern. There is ‘heroism’, loud songs, sentiments, romance, comedy, revenge (a clash between the protagonist and the villain), besides emotional flashback portions. Pattas ticks all the right boxes as a commercial entertainer. But why are Tamil directors obsessed with the underdog sports movie template? Durai Senthilkumar himself has directed two other sports-based dramas—Ethir Neechal and Kaaki Sattai (starring Sivakarthikeyan). You have to give the filmmaker this much—he tries. He has good ideas. But everything about Pattas becomes easily predictable.

I liked how the film deals with Adimurai, an ancient homegrown martial arts form—but the screenplay could have been tighter. The film is inspired by real-life people who practise Adimurai. At the same time, there is no attempt to inject novelty to the plot. Pattas director Durai Senthilkumar seems happy to rehash what once worked at the box office. Dhanush plays both Thiraviyam Perumal and Pattas aka Sakthi—the father and son. The hero-introduction song made me sit up. But I didn’t care much about the rest.

Pattas is a star vehicle tailor-made for Dhanush. It gets utterly generic, though the laughs (in the first half) are great. You get action sequences, which Dhanush aces. He doesn’t look out-of-place even in a single scene. But there’s nothing more. Durai Senthilkumar simply wants to celebrate Dhanush—a “big” star and his heroism. Thus, he weaves a story around the ‘mass’ elements tailored into a script (yet another done-to-death story) mostly, playing to the gallery.

Thiraviyam Perumal swears by Adimurai, his craft, his land and his birthright. He is projected as the face of the masses. To be more precise—the Bruce Lee of Tamil Nadu and this is where Pattas goes wrong. In a crucial scene, someone sets Thiraviyam Perumal on fire. He doesn’t collapse but continues to fight, seething with rage. Come on, please. These scenes look ridiculously staged. (Of course, they are). Pattas cannot get more heroic than this. But again, that’s the tone of the film. It aims at the unapologetic celebration of the hero, Dhanush.

Pattas has something for every segment of the audience. But hey, the film does more for Dhanush than he does to it. I guess Durai Senthilkumar, this time, didn’t want to push the envelope, the way he did for Kodi (which I liked better for its approach to filmmaking and storytelling). Sneha as Kanyakumari, undoubtedly, gets to mouth the film’s best dialogues. The actor steals the show and is quite a picture of confidence.

Like Rajinikanth’s latest outing Darbar, Pattas too has a weakly written villain character. Naveen Chandra might be tall, masculine and well-built, but the moment you hear him speak, you lose it all. (I would have liked to hear Gautham Menon’s voice instead, and I am sure he would have done more justice to it). It is difficult to take Naveen Chandra seriously as the baddie because the film isn’t interested in it. Pattas bothers only about Dhanush and his double role.

Had Durai Senthilkumar tried a bit harder, he could have succeeded in making Pattas less predictable, despite the tried-and-tested masala entertainer-template. For a film that’s “rooted in Tamil culture, values and tradition”, you get Mehreen Pirzada, who doesn’t know Tamil. Sneha’s character defines this-is-how-a-heroine-should be. Then, there’s Mehreen’s role. If you like loosu ponnu characters, you’ll like Sadhana. But I don’t think there’s anything to admire in an animated character. Let’s leave everything aside, including the brains—but Is it too difficult to get, at least, the lip-sync right?

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