Pandigai movie review: Director Feroz makes his debut with a well-written and packaged thriller
Debutant director Feroz’s Pandigai — produced by his actress wife Vijayalakshmi — is a well-written and packaged thriller with lots of twists and turns. It is engrossing and slickly made with apt casting.
The first half of the film deals with characters involved in underground boxing matches, illegal betting and fixed cricket matches. The interval block twist is stunning and in the second half, the plot develops into a heist and redemption story.
The story is set in Kollywood’s favourite location — the mean streets of North Chennai — where all kinds of illegal activities take place. The film opens with Muni (Saravanan), a compulsive gambler who takes part in illegal betting on cricket matches and underground boxing and has lost everything, including the title deed to his house. One day, while witnessing a bar fight, he comes across Velu (Krishna), a waiter-trainee in a star hotel, who can knock out people with the perfect punch like a champion boxer.
Velu, an orphan, has had a difficult childhood, but is principled and wants to come up in life. He wants money to get a passport to go abroad and is also in need of a new mobile phone (after his older one is accidentally damaged when he is speaking to his girlfriend Kavya [Anandhi]). At this time, Muni contacts him to become a boxer and he reluctantly takes up the assignment. The entire betting mafia is controlled by Natwar Dada (Madhusoodanan), a dreaded gangster. Muni wants to make a fast buck and get his house back from Feeling Suresh (Aruldos) , a notorious loan shark. The plan is, in the last game of the season Velu will deliberately lose the boxing match to Dada’s prized fighter, Victor (Arjai). However, things turn awry as Dada has already “fixed” the match and they lose everything. In desperation, they plan one big heist on Dada — where the unexpected happens.
The film works largely due to the atmosphere and mood swings in the narration created by Feroz in his story telling. And the superbly choreographed raw and realistic action scenes of Anbu and Arivu, heightens the tension along with RH Vikram’s stunning background score. The casting is perfect, with Krishna as Velu coming out with a stunning performance. Saravanan as Muni is outstanding and it is his best film after Paruthiveeran.
But what sticks out like a sore thumb is the romance of Krishna and Anandhi, when the story does not demand it. A lot of scenes have been pushed into the narrative including unwanted songs which hampers the proceedings. When will Tamil cinema stop having “loosu ponnu”-type bubbly-sweet heroines who fall in love at the drop of a hat and the irritating best friend to the hero, who is supposed to provide the laughs?
These grouses aside, on the whole Pandigai is a smart action thriller that will keep you hooked for a racy two hours and 10 minutes of entertainment.