Power Paandi aka Pa Paandi Review
Dhanush one of the most sought after leading men in Tamil cinema has successfully showcased his talents as a lyricist, singer, writer and producer. ‘Pa. Paandi’ his official directorial debut proves beyond any doubt that he is indeed the complete showman of Kollywood.
Power Paandi (Rajkiran) is a retired stunt master living with his son Raghavan (Prasanna), daughter-in-law Prema (Chaaya Singh) and their two children Dhruv (Master Raghav) and Shaksha (Baby Chavvi). While the grandchildren adore him, he is often at loggerheads with his son due poking his nose for social causes. In one such instance when he beats up a drug peddling gang it becomes a police case and when Raghavan scolds Paandi he decides to to on a soul searching trip on a bike which leads him to his first love Poonthendral (Revathi) a grandmother now living in Hyderabad. What happens next forms an emotionally rewarding viewing experience.
Rajkiran carries the entire film on his broad shoulder and shines in every frame emoting effortlessly be it charged up for the fight sequences or becoming a child when playing with his grandchildren. He displays extraordinary chemistry when interacting with young hipster (Rinson of Nanban fame) next door and with Revathi when he himself turns into a love smitten teenager. Younger generation heroines can take a cue from the acting powerhouse Revathi who even at this age makes you fall head over heels in love with her in a very limited space that she gets. The look that she gives Rajkiran when he leaves in the final shot lingers on long after the fade out. Prasanna as the son who repents for his behavior towards his dad after he goes missing has given a good account of himself while Chaaya Singh as his wife does not get any scenes to score. Rinson as the boy next door who has a casual and loyal friendship with Power Paandi is so natural that you wish there are more scenes between them. Master Raghav last seen in ‘Rekka’as junior Vijay Sethupathi is another youngster who oozes talent as the loving grandson. Amongst the special appearances Divya Darshani makes an impression as the modern daughter of Revathi, while Robo Shankar and Gautham Menon are a scream as the pompous hero and the suffering film director. Dhanush appears as the young Power Paandi in the flashback and Madonna Sebastian as the younger Revathi. Though you cannot fault their acting, the episode is not at all necessary for the story and hence their presence does not create any impact on the viewer. Further the star presence mars the natural flow of the screenplay.
One of the most brilliantly conceived and executed scenes by Dhanush is in the first half when Rajkiran tries to find work as a side actor and bungles it away as he is unable to deliver the small dialogue. But the very next day he is offered a small fight scene and as soon as he enters the sets younger fighters and the fight master come and fall at his feet to show respect to the senior and egged on he gives a perfect shot. This moment of glory that comes after many years to Rajkiran’s character completely transforms him and triggers his soul searching journey, a truly defining moment well written in the screenplay. The interactions between Rajkiran and Rinson illuminate the elderly man in the eyes of the youth and vice versa. The underlying theme that the old people should stop living the lives of their children and grandchildren and must seek companionship of the opposite sex if necessary is a relevant message to the society.
On the downside, while the first half is focused and we are able to root for Rajkiran’s character the long drawn out flashback involving Dhanush makes us feel like we have stepped into an altogether different movie. After thirty minutes or so when we come back to Rajkiran it takes a little time to get accustomed and it’s a great injustice that Rajkiran-Revathi scenes are so less and no conflicts come into play.
Velraj’s cinematography is apt for the film while the editing could have been a little better as a few out of focus shots are found here and there in the cuts. Sean Rolden’s songs are pleasing to hear and his background score too passes muster. Dhanush has written a gripping screenplay laden with emotions that connect and he has extracted all-round good performances from his cast. If only he could trim or even do away with the flashback portions this film will be even more satisfying.
Verdict : Go for it to experience an emotionally rewarding film from director Dhanush and try to forgive star Dhanush for the same reason.