Mohan Lal's Pulimurugan that was released for Dussehra was a smash hit in Kerala. Telugu dubbed version of the film is out in theaters now. Manyam Puli is basically an action thriller with an unusual backdrop. Mohan Lal and Jagapathi Babu steal the show in this technically brilliant film that is superbly handled by director Vaisakh.
What is it about?
Puli Kumar (Mohan Lal) starts hunting wild tigers from his childhood after his father gets brutally killed by a tiger. He keeps on killing the man eating tigers to save the villagers. A situation arises where Kumar had to leave his village. He takes shelter under Daddy Girija (Jagapathi Babu) who turns out to be more dangerous than tigers. Meanwhile, many villagers fall prey to a tiger and Puli Kumar comes back to hunt it. Now he has to tackle Daddy and also the tiger both at the same time.
Mohan Lal surprises us with his agility in the fights with tiger. At the age of fifty, he never looked misfit to play the part. He is certainly the biggest assets of the film. Kamalinee Mukherjee is good as Mohan Lal's wife. The chemistry between them is pretty impressive. Namitha is there to woo masses. Jagapathi Babu is striking with his screen presence and performance. Lal and others have done their bit.
No wonder the film is such a big hit in Kerala, as the director focused on the star image of Mohan Lal. Even though the story is old, the setup is new. Tiger killings add freshness to the proceedings and the screenplay is cleverly written without making us feel like we are watching the same old story amid the novel setup.
Cinematography is top notch. Visuals of Kerala forests, waterfalls and the aerial shots of ghat roads are breathtaking. Background score elevates the action scenes to another level. Editing is fine. Action scenes are the main highlight of the film. Peter Heins leaves his stamp all over. VFX team did a fine job in the scenes involving tiger.
Predictable second half
Lengthy run time
First twenty minutes of the film will leave you awe struck and sets the right mood for the rest of it. Scenes between Mohan Lal and Kamalinee become repetitive after a while, but the director made sure to place the action scenes at right intervals to avoid any major low points in the screenplay.
Interval scene creates curiosity about what happened between Mohan Lal and Jagapathi Babu. The film loses some steam after the story moves to a town from the forest. The scenes between Jagapathi Babu and Mohan Lal turn out to be dull and uninteresting. Despite the predictability this episode still clicks because of two superbly choreographed action scenes.
It gets back on track after moving back to forest and the climax packs a solid punch. Last action sequence has been superbly shot and edited. The film's run time is too long, which is one of its weak elements. There is scope for trimming in the second half. In spite of a few glitches, Manyam Puli still works for its thrilling premise, brilliant technical values and spotless performance of Mohan Lal. It is a must watch for the masses and action movie lovers.
Verdict: This Tiger Roars.