'Bagheera' movie review: An eccentric Prabhu Deva shines through a chaotic script
The teddy bear then goes on to kill them with a needlessly complex murder weapon, which is basically a syringe attached to a hammer.
Surgically analysing the various ideologically problematic things with Bagheera would be too obvious as it has all been so thickly laid out. On top of that, with the climax, director Adhik Ravichandran saves us the trouble by letting a female character spout counterpoints to every problematic thing so jubilantly espoused all through the film up until that point. This glaringly obvious insurance for the sake of goodwill hardly works because the film has plenty of other fundamental problems as well, and some—weirdly enough—are rather entertaining.
Most of these bizarre, entertaining issues can be seen in the early part of the film. For starters, there is a teddy bear that goes around killing women. And any attempt at explaining that statement would sound as weird as the statement itself.
But here’s me trying anyway: A string of murders involving young women is happening across the city. It begins with unsuspecting women receiving an unusual gift from their boyfriend, who is actually Bagheera. The girls are so ready to hug and kiss this deliberately creepy-looking teddy bear on command from their boyfriend. The teddy bear then goes on to kill them with a needlessly complex murder weapon, which is basically a syringe attached to a hammer.
And precisely at this point, you are lost wondering if you are laughing with the film or at it because it is hard to grapple with the fact that the makers meant for these moments to be serious. While you are strangely amused by the murderous teddy bear, we are introduced to the man behind the curtain, Bagheera himself. Prabhu Deva sports multiple looks to deceive multiple women. Almost every look he dons is as over the top and cartoonish as the murderous teddy bear but the cherry on top is how you can see Prabhu Deva enjoying himself so much.
The most authentic, enjoyable part of the film is easily the actor, who is clearly having fun with his character. The murderous teddy bear and a whacky, unhinged Prabhu Deva is about the extent of fun you can extract out of Bagheera. The rest of the film is either painfully outdated (ex: ‘boy bestie’ jokes), over-indulgent, or laughably trite.
The film is at its lowest when we are taken back to Bagheera’s childhood and are made to sit through an odd creative choice where half of the flashback is animated while the other half is in live-action. While this might be due to budget constraints and/or actor availability, the entire sequence felt like the makers’ attempt at figuring out all the loopholes so far and clearing it with the quick-fix flashback.
Time and again, Prabhu Deva’s Bagheera declares himself as the saviour of men. “Ponnungalukku onnu na maadhar sangam varum but pasangalukku onnu na indha Bagheera varuvan” He even goes on to set up an app that lets guys send complaints about girls who broke their heart, Bagheera then goes on to hunt down the girls. With the app on one hand and the serial killer who targets promiscuous women on the other hand, Bagheera tries to be a blend of Manmathan and Anniyan but the execution is not as interesting as how the idea sounds on paper.
Towards the end of the film, one of Bagheera’s victims (played by Amyra Dastur) gets trapped in a mansion with him and gets chased around in a game of cat and mouse. While the sequence is devoid of any tension, Prabhu Deva’s antics and a remix of the song Pattukottai Ammalu from Ranga (1982) elevate the mood and offer some much-needed respite.
Adult entertainers usually fare well when they don’t take themselves too seriously. While there are moments in Bagheera that massively benefit from such lighthearted treatment, there are sections of the film that are too deliberately filled with logical loopholes and careless writing. Unfortunately, the latter segments of the film bulldoze whatever little is built by the former.
Director: Adhik Ravichandran
Cast: Prabhu Deva, Amyra Dastur, Sanchita Shetty, Janani, Gayathrie Shankar, Sakshi Agarwal