Sasikumar has been careful in selecting scripts and roles, and has chosen his directors with care. This worked big time for him as he has carved an enviable niche for himself as an actor. But his latest film, Kutti Puli, leaves much to be desired.
Helmed by debutant director Muthaiah, the film’s screenplay lacks clarity and focus, and the characterisation is inconsistent. The director has made a futile attempt to integrate the different tracks in the film into a coherent whole. Also, there is a sense of déjά vu throughout as if we had seen all of this in various films before.
The film centres on Puli whose father had been killed in a gang war. Worried that her son will tread the same path of violence his mother (Saranya) makes various attempts to get him married. But Puli, realising that he had his father’s traits, is determined to stay single, till he sets eyes on Bharati, a new girl in the neighbourhood. Puli is a do-gooder, a ruffian with the proverbial golden heart. We, like Bharati, get to see this side of him. So when he talks of unknown enemies and all those affected by his violent acts, we wonder what he is talking about.
Puli’s wooing of Bharati reminds one of a similar scenario in Sundarapandian. Though Sasikumar’s role is ambiguously etched, he takes each scene as it comes and tries to fit into the mould. Lakshmi Menon’s Bharati seems like an extension of her role from Sundarapandian.
The screenplay meanders in the second half and nosedives, never to recover. It gives space for a bunch of youngsters who were hanging out on the fringe in the earlier part, and for Murthy, a rowdy, who becomes Puli’s bete noir in the latter part. Vendetta is best served cold, they say, but here Murthy takes an inordinate amount of time to get back at Puli! Bharati’s distressed father, an engineer, approaching Murthy out of the blue to get him a job transfer, doesn’t jell. For it was never depicted how influential the rowdy was or what clout he wielded.
There are a couple of amusing moments when Saranya, after learning that her son’s life is in danger, goes to various people whom Puli was involved with and asks for their forgiveness. Sasikumar-starrers have been laced with humour and fun moments. But in Kutti Puli, they are few and far between.
The director pitches in the mother-sentiment, going overboard with it in the climax. It’s a grotesque gory climax that puts one off, where Puli’s machoism and heroism make way for some misplaced sense of women-empowerment!
Kutti Puli is probably the least exciting and engaging of Sasikumar starrers.