Every once in a while, comes a movie that is meant to throw you off your plush theatre seat - with its logic defying, ‘mass-ive’, brilliance. If you get the drift, the tone, you know where we are going with this. Mohanlal - the forever alpha male of Malayalam cinema - as Pulimurugan; that’s where. Because there is just so much say, we’ve put down all the ‘points to ponder’. Put your hands together for Pulimurugan...if you can get them down from that *facepalm* they are stuck in.
1) A young Murugan, with unruly hair, vows to slaughter the beast who killed his dad. Blinded by revenge, he fixes a trap only to be told that “one needs to visit its den to kill it and not wait for it to fall in trap.” And the scene that follows has to be seen to be believed. Pun unintended.
2) Between the first and last scene, we lost count of the number of times, Pulimurugan’s virtues are extolled by his friends and family. He has been equated to Swami Ayyappa, who managed to extract a tiger’s milk, as well as described as a tiger’s greatest nemesis. In fact, going by the number of references, perhaps, re-titling the film Swami Ayyappan would have been a good idea.
3) Some of the ballads surrounding him reminds you of the phantom lore— “A man who knows the jungle can find the tiger, sense his nearness and even measure the length of his distance.”
4) The forest official finally succumbs to the greatness of the Pulimurugan after failing to capture the tiger— “We realised our guns aren’t big enough. Only you can do it.”
5) It’s quite a sight to watch the hunter at work—there is a beautifully chiselled Vel (as the say, what’s Murugan without his Vel) that he carries in a brown packet, strapped over his shoulders, a sharp pointed little knife that is tied to an elongated cord around his legs. A sort of hand gear made of the bark of a tree and strappy shoes made of the same material. The bearded man wears a black mundu and a chocolate brown shirt and there is a black thread around his neck, with a tiger’s incisor serving as a locket.
6) Ok, so though it is difficult to describe the incredible hunting sequence, we can still give it a try. Easily the most spectacular scenes in the film are the great man’s entry scenes—as the tiger roars its way to make short work of his uncle and two others, Murugan uses his knife - attached to a chord - as a dart that astonishingly stops the “400 kilo” tiger in its tracks. What follows is a battle of wits between the man and the beast—somersaults, mowgli-like long jumps, running between gigantic trees, tree hopping and finally, within the blink of an eye, Murugan throws a loop around his neck and finishes the “400 kilo” beast with his knife. Phew!
7) In another scene, a villain unleashes two of his fierce mongrels upon Murugan - they come racing in only to stop in their paths at the sight of the hunters’ presence. Soon we see them prostrating at his feet, like a pair of tame puppies. It’s kind of a hysterical mass moment that induces psychedelic emotions in a die-hard Mohanlal fan I reckon.
8) Namita’s cameo walk-ins with the lens strategically focussing on her vital statistics (*cringe*) with the lone aim of propelling the masculinity of the alpha male called Pulimurugan. Why, there is even a Sharapanjaram Jayan encore. In this case, the man is smothering a few wood logs into a lorry, if you must know.
9) For a hero of such gargantuan proportions, giving us a villain with a name that gives you a tummy ache from laughter –Daddy Girija (giggle!) - is a sore lack in imagination or bravura.
10) A heroine who can’t decide between her expressions—should I be angry? Annoyed? Or just compress my lips all the time?
11) Suraj Venjaramoodu’s ‘peeping tom’ Poongayi Sasi with his offensive jokes. Enough with that already!
12) A tribal chief who keeps appearing to sing starry ballads about our Murugan— “Kettarivinekkal valuthanu Murugan enna sathyam.”
13) Murugan’s “epic shower” after the act...umm, falls short of being an item number?
14) And the climax fight—terrific! Just this niggling piece of doubt? Considering the empire he has created, isn’t Daddy Girija rather dense to “invite” the man-eater to feed on Balarama?
Oh please, now will I please shut up and stop carping at a movie that is currently racing to join the 100-crore club?
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