Director: Santhosh P Jayakumar; Cast: Prabhu Deva, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Raiza Wilson, Prakash Raj, Baby Aazhiya, Jegan, Shaam, John Kokken
Releasing in Theatres; Run time: 118 minutes
IANS Rating: ***
Director Santhosh P Jayakumar’s ‘Poikkal Kuthirai’ is a proper commercial entertainer that banks bigs on the father-daughter sentiment. The film also has a nice little investigative track that makes the story interesting and engaging.
The story, for all practical purposes, can be dismissed as being a run-of-the-mill kind, if it were not for the fact that the protagonist is a physically-challenged man of limited means facing an incredibly difficult challenge that requires quite a bit of physical effort to overcome it.
Kathiravan (played by Prabhu Deva), an amputee with a single leg, is a very content man whose world revolves around his young daughter Magizh (Baby Aazhiya). With his wife having passed away, Kathiravan’s priority is to ensure that his daughter gets a good education as per his late wife’s wish.
Life is peaceful until one day, his daughter collapses on stage during a performance in school. He learns that she has a medical condition that will require a surgery that will cost him a huge sum of money. When Kathiravan runs out of options, his father (Prakash Raj), who is in prison, suggests that he kidnap the young daughter of a big industrialist Rudra(Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) and demand money. A reluctant Kathiravan begins to monitor Rudra’s child’s movements in a bid to save his ailing child. However, just when he is about to kidnap the child, a dramatic development occurs that leaves not just Rudra but also Kathiravan shocked…
The film is interesting in parts. Poikkal Kuthirai gets off to a slow start, with incidents being showcased to highlight the deep dad-daughter bond.
The film starts picking up pace only after it becomes evident that Kathiravan’s child is fighting for her life and the man has no money. However, an unnecessary episode involving a non-governmental organisation swindling money again brings down the pace of the film.
It starts regaining the lost pace with more significant developments. By the time the first half ends, the story has you paying attention. In fact, Santhosh ends the first half with a flourish, raising a very interesting question that piques your curiosity. The second half is full of twists and turns and keeps you fairly engaged.
The film has some laudable performances. Prabhu Deva has to be given credit for the phenomenal effort he’s made to play a one-legged character. Playing a one-legged person means shifting your entire body weight onto just one leg. Standing on one leg for a considerable period of time by itself can be a challenge. But Prabhu Deva seems to have not just stood but danced and fought on one leg, an incredibly demanding effort. For pulling off this challenge in a magnificent fashion, Prabhu Deva wins brownie points.
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar’s performance as always is impressive. In fact, she seems to have worked on her dialogue delivery as well. While in the past, she is known to have rattled off her lines, she speaks at a reasonably decent pace in this film, adding so much more value to her performance.
John Kokken as Varalaxmi’s husband and comedian Jegan deliver neat performances. Actors Shaam and Raiza Wilson don’t have much to do in the film. Baby Aazhiya, who plays Prabhu Deva’s daughter in the film, is adorable.
D Imman’s background score is just about okay. The film has a couple of peppy songs that seem to have thrilled the masses.
Despite a good story and an interesting manner of narration, the film leaves you feeling bored occasionally. This boredom could have been avoided had the editor of the film been ruthless in her job.
Santhosh Jayakumar’s ‘Poikkal Kuthirai’ is a mixed bag. In other words, it is a film that works in parts.