Despite having a number of films to star in such as Enai Noki Paayum Thota, Velaiilla Pattadhari 2, Vada Chennai, Maari 2, a film with Karthik Subbaraj, his Hollywood debut The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir and his production venture starring ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth under Pa. Ranjith’s direction, Dhanush still had time to pull off a directorial debut in style and that’s Pa Paandi a.k.a Power Paandi. How the film fared? Read on!
I walked in with zero expectations and fortunately, I wasn’t in for a major shocker. The premise is pretty simple and straightforward. Rajkiran (Power Paandi) is a retired stunt master who feels useless being home doing nothing and hence decides to hit the road with a bullet as old as him in-order to rediscover himself. Halfway through, he wonders why can’t he meet Poonthendral (Revathi), his first love. He finds out that she too is single and well settled with a daughter and a grand-daughter. Not worrying about what his intrusion into her life might create, Paandi meets her. What happens next forms the crux of this flick.
Family drama films have always been ones that would make one shed a tear or two, prove how family matters more than anything else and finally ends in a happy note. Though one might find it all in this flick, this isn’t all it provides as there’s a pinch of commercialism and Dhanush-ism if we may call it that’s brought to the table to make this a worthwhile entertainer.
The biggest plus and indeed a shocker is the transformation of veteran Rajkiran from that Nalli elumbu dismantling specialist who goes on saying Thakkali konde puduven pathuko to a suave senior citizen who’s quite modern for his time. An interesting tidbit behind this casting is the fact that Rajkiran was the hero in En Rasavin Manasile, the directorial debut of Dhanush’s father Kasthuri Raja. That would give an idea on the emotions that would’ve flowed at the film’s set and some has obviously overflown into the film too.
Despite having it all, Rajkiran finds himself to be a misfit. Though having a son, a daughter in law who’s as good as a daughter, two grand-kids and even a pesky neighbour kid who can be called his friend, Rajkiran can’t find happiness. The way he grew up has made him strong physically and mentally and he can’t spend the rest of the days waiting for death to knock his doors. Dhanush stops with the cliches here and this is where he proves his mettle as a director.
Dhanush has tapped on the topic of elders being overseen by their sons which has rarely been touched. He has also planted the statement, a person needs company always, irrespective of age, pretty firmly. This is why when we get to see Rajkiran trying to woo Revathi in the second half, it doesn’t look ‘uncultured’ or disturbing. Actually it’s cute and romantic to say the least. Though there are many scenes which gives us a déjà vu thanks to it being overused in different films, there are also some fresh elements incorporated at the right times to give us the feel good factor.
Rajkiran, in a never-before-seen avatar has lived the character. Be it the leather jacket wearing, bike riding old man who talks enough English to give Gautham Menon a run for his money, or the drunk scenes where he showcases the real him to his son, the character stands as a testimony to a selfless innocent man’s love, affection, anger and wishes. Revathi, who’s too picky with her projects these days is seen once again in a Dhanush production after Amma Kanakku and she has proved once again what a subtle yet brilliant performer she is. Dhanush and Madonna Sebastian’s flashback sequence must be the least enjoyable sequence in the entire film and it’s obvious that it’s added only for a commercial value and to bank on brand Dhanush.
Sean Roldan’s music is a huge pillar of support for this script and the background score gels well with the story flow. Velraj’s cinematography too has proved his flair and adds richness to the film. As said above, though a number of scenes give us a been-there-seen-that feel, Dhanush makes it special with a director’s touch making us wonder if this is even his debut as a Director.
Overall, Pa Paandi is a feel good family friendly entertainer that skids at places but safely delivers us a smile across our face.
My Rating: 3/5