After the spectacular ‘Baahubali’, we were all set for an encore with ‘Puli’, yet another period fantasy from the South. But this one, also full of kings and queens and enslaved villagers and a handsome young prince who will set everything right, is a crashing bore.
Vijay plays the valiant Maru Dheeran, lover of the pretty Pavazhmani (Shruti Haasan), who goes chasing off after her into the land of the blue-eyed ‘vetaals’. He is accompanied by a couple of jokesters, and a talking bird. On the way, he gathers up a few little people who are there strictly for comic relief, a turtle who can see the future, and a growling big black cat. And a few other things, the recounting of which is even more painful than the watching.
I was hoping desperately that Sridevi, who plays the wicked princess Yaman, would liven things up. She, and her partner-in-crime, the evil wazir and the real bad guy (Sudeep). She sweeps the floor in her long, ornate gowns, flicks her sharp talons, and goes walk-about on walls. But nothing prevented me from falling asleep: not the occasionally impressive computer graphics, nor the fight scenes, and certainly not the dull-as-ditchwater song-and-dances. Snore.