Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kutti Puli (2013)

There's one way to enjoy Kutti Puli and I am not even guaranteeing that: it is by accepting the fact that this isn't a film too interested in scenes that take a story forward. It begins with a mass hero's mass entry, then meanders for two hours with pointless fights, a few random attempts at humor and a bit of old-fashioned romance, before ending with an absurdly WTF-esque climax. Unlike Sundarapandian, a film which I loved quite a lot, Kutti Puli can happily lose huge chunks and still not be misunderstood; there's hardly anything in it worth misunderstanding. I couldn't even tell what this film was about until the final few seconds when it mildly became clear.

I am a sucker for a good masala film, but Kutti Puli is a weakly written excuse with enough scenes to pass it off as a movie. It is an Amma sentiment film of the worst kind. Saranya Ponnavan, typecast as ever, plays an illiterate, doting, widowed mother who breathes for her son Kutti Puli's sake. After losing her husband Periya Puli to violence, she intends to bring up her son her own way. Alas, the apple doesn't fall far from the aruva-weilding, blood-spewing tree. As he thwarts her every attempt to get him married, she is left with no option but to visit the wish-granting temple. In his defence, Puli is so much in love with the concept of being in love that he chooses to remain a bachelor, not wanting to bestow a life of violence on his future wife. He's a gem, I tell you.

Kutti Puli is a film filled with fight scenes which will make you go, "Gee, that escalated pretty quick!" When an infinitesimally petty altercation inflates into a full-blown fight, Puli inadvertently makes a few more enemies; the kind that stabs a 13 year old kid in the throat for making a speech in a political rally. Yeah, I am not oblivious to Madurai's reputation of being a rather violent place, but the amount of bloodshed here is ridiculous. Saranya's friend swells with pride when she talks about Puli's speciality of slitting Adam's apples. Assuming that the old hag is not making it up, a couple of questions: a) when exactly did that happen? b) why is he not in prison? and c) why is he freakin' killing people? The writing is so messed up, the film doesn't even bother to bring closure to the subplot regarding the political figure who apparently prodded the aforementioned 13 year old.

I find the basic notion of classifying audiences' intelligence based on where they live very offensive. Saying a film like Kutti Puli is targeted at the so called "B and C centers" is downright demeaning. Paruthiveeran was a Madurai film, but it worked across all these centers because it was a good film. Does it take the hero to wear a lungi for people in villages to like the film and relate to the characters? It must be noted that people at my screening were cheering and whistling through most parts of the movie. So does this mean we deserve movies like these? This is a deeper issue which calls for better understanding of people's psyche; passing off bilge as cinema of the rural masses is insulting the audience's intellect.

I was bored stiff for most parts of the film. The comedy sidesteps very far away from whatever little story the film has. Relying on popular romantic songs from the 70s/80s for the purpose of comedy has become a thing. Sasi Kumar tries to recreate something on the lines of  'Kangal Irandal' and embarrassingly fails. I will admit the 'Akka Maga' bit had me laughing for all its silliness, but the rest of the usage was so exhausting. Offering lame reasons to believe that an educated looking Lakshmi Menon can fall for someone like Puli, the film degrades its own worth even further. That the film would liken its grotesque climax to something on the lines of female empowerment is what boggles me to no end.
Kutti Puli is Tamil cinema's sincerely mediocre answer to Bollywood for Himmatwala. If you must watch this movie, remember to carry Tiger balm along.