May 17 2017

Pa Paandi

Published by at 10:13 pm under Review,Tamil Cinema


It looks like Dhanush is fast becoming the T.Rajender of this generation! After trying his hand – and being very successful – at acting, singing, penning lyrics and producing films, he has now turned director with Pa Paandi. It is a simple, feel-good film about a unique protagonist and like everything else Dhanush does, it works because it seems straight from the heart.

The aforementioned protagonist is ‘Power’ Paandi(Rajkiran), who was a famous, well-respected stunt master in films and having retired, now lives with his son Raghavan(Prasanna), daughter-in-law Prema(Chaya Singh) and their 2 children. The scenario is ripe for TV serial-like melodrama with a retired, old-fashioned, widowed father trying to cope with the fast-paced lives the rest of his family leads. And the first conflict, with Paandi switching on the TV and the loud volume waking up the family, points to exactly that kind of melodrama. But thankfully that doesn’t continue. There are no dramatic scenes of ill-treatment or fights and the issues(Paandi being a social do-gooder leading to Raghavan having to deal with the consequences) and arguments, when they happen are such that we can’t really take sides.

The ex-stunt master part makes Paandi an interesting protagonist. It makes the film a masala film as it leads to comedy(as he hunts for new jobs), sentiments(the scenes with his grandkids and a lovely scene where visits a shooting spot and relives the glory of his past) and fights. These are all done with moderation and work well. Rajkiran’s soft-spoken, genial performance works perfectly and Sean Roldan’s fantastic soundtrack provides great support with songs like Vaanam…,  Soorakaathu… and Veesum Kaathodadhaan…. The bits of overt, loud comedy(Gautham Menon has a cameo in one such bit) don’t work as well but they aren’t long either.

Paandi’s loneliness and general boredom are built up through small moments to nicely to lead up to him setting out on his road trip. But it soon turns into a trip down memory lane as he reminisces about his short-lived love affair. Dhanush plays the younger Paandi and while his romance with Poonthendral(Madonna Sebastian) isn’t anything special, it is short and sweet and sets the stage for what is to follow.

Once Poonthendral(Revathi) reenters the picture, the film is an absolute delight. Revathi reminds us once again what a fantastic actress she is. From her tentative “hi” and joke about Paandi’s salt-and-pepper hair, the conversations and interactions between them are completely natural(Sean Roldan again shines with Venpani Malare…). The couple’s age and maturity makes even cliched Tamil cinema scenes, like the one where the hero shows up drunk at the heroine’s doorstep, refreshingly new and proceed very differently. The segment makes a nice point about seeking companionship in one’s old age in a matter-of-fact manner(Vijay TV’s DD shows up here) and wraps things up on a perfect note.

16 responses so far

16 Responses to “Pa Paandi”

  1. Prakash says:

    Started watching this last weekend and am halfway through. Dhanush-Madonna flashback just finished. Pretty good so far. But from your review, sounds like its going to get even better. Can’t wait for this weekend now.

  2. venkit says:

    Like I had mentioned in one of BB’s earlier posts, this was one of the 2 interesting movies I watched during a binge watching over the last weekend. The other one was Maanagaram.

    The music was good and Revathi stupendous.

    Yesterday was a horrible day as I watched ShivaLinga. Can some bring a law forbidding some people from making movies? P.Vaasu would be my first choice to be banned.

  3. Jordan says:

    Enjoyed it! Esp the Revathy portions, her tentativeness, her conversations with DD (overacting here too) were delightful. She complimented Raj Kiran well. It does have a TV feel, its far from the standards of Karthik Subburaj and Vetrimaaran, but Dhanush seems to have put in an earnest effort.

  4. Sujatha Ramesh says:

    A Feel good movie – loved Raj Kiran and Revathy !!Prasanna was pretty good too

    Jordan bang on about DD !! she got all of 2 scenes and was over the top in both..

    Loved loved the last scene.

    Balaji, not yet watched Bahubali-2 ? checking your web site everyday for review :)

  5. Prakash says:

    Oh, one other observation. Career arc for actresses is to get older. They go from heroine to half-gen older character (sis, sis-in-law) to full-gen older (mom or at best wife of elder hero character in a dad-son double role).

    Chaya Singh bucks that trend in a slightly circuitous manner. She has gone from Dhanush’s heroine to technically his daughter-in-law :)

    Don’t critique that observation. Enakke thangala!

  6. Prakash says:

    @Sujatha, waiting for Baahubali-2 review just so you can get bb’s take on it? Or waiting for the review to decide whether to watch the movie or not?

    If latter, here’s my advice, fwiw. Watch it on the big screen. I went with low expectations but liked it more than 1. And I loved 1! Fairly predictable overall, but enough minor twists that kept me engaged. And the production values and grandeur are awesome.

  7. Ramesh 1 says:

    Definitely a good effort in recent times – but maybe I’d expected a bit more individuality and edge from Dhanush’s debut, considering this was quite a safe venture. I really felt the story could have really been handled by anyone.

    Also as awesome as he was, I’m surprised at how reviewers went gaga at the casting of Rajkiran. He’s been playing the paavam-moonji’d fellow for over a decade now – and played a similar, out-of-touch-city-grandfather as recently as Manja Pai (2015). Who else could Dhanush have realistically cast?

    Also enjoyed the role of the grandson actor Raghavan! Three good performances now – this along with Sethupathi and Rekka.

  8. Sujatha Ramesh says:

    Prakash, watched BB2 movie 2 times already !!

    Wanted balaji take on it!!

  9. Balaji says:

    Prakash, best is yet to come. Do share your thoughts after finishing the rest of the movie.

    venkit, looking fwd to seeing Maanagaram soon.

    Jordan, yeah it was a simple movie and Dhanush didn’t got any directorial flourishes. But as you said, it was a sincere effort.

    Sujatha, watched BB2 last weekend. Been a bit busy & so haven’t finished the review yet. Hopefully will be up early next week.

    Prakash, idhu ungaluke konjam over-a theriala? :)

    Ramesh1, yeah he went safe. Even Aishwarya’s debut had much more of an edge.
    “paavam-moonji’d fellow” – had a good laugh over this definition

  10. Harish says:

    I was amazed how every cliche was broken. Except for the scene where prasanna berates his father for an accident, the conversation felt genuine as he cares for the overall good of the family. Chaya Singh was very good too as a caring daughter in law. The scene where the action director initially ignores rajkiran and the lights up when he told, fantastic. Every one of these scenes had the capability for cliche moments. Revathy was fantastic. So was rajkiran, especially as he is inside the sheet, shaking his legs… was really funny. The more I look at dhanush, he seems one with great talent, be it identifying music directors, story selection, doesn’t feel like random luck any more.

  11. Sandya says:

    Harish, you hit it bang on the head! He has matured tremendously as an ‘artist,’ be it whatever specialty within cinema, he wishes to pursue. With maturity and experience, he is poised to become one of the biggest players that Tamil Cinema has yet to see in the next 10 years. Rajini may have the name, money and clout, but what Dhanush has become is an entity all his own, by his making. He took risks with good debutantes and took a few career nosedives too and still remains most unscathed! ?

  12. Prakash says:

    Don’t want to hype it up too much for those who haven’t seen the movie yet. But what an absolutely delightful ending :) And yes, just line everyone has observed, Revs was brilliant. Casual and underplayed perfectly.

    The last fight was a bit too cinematic for me but was at least short. Prasanna’s apology was over the top and was the one jarring note.

    Unlike a couple earlier commenters, I thought DD was perfect also. Cracked up when she said “ponnu paakka varanga”. Lol. I haven’t seen any of her TV work, so maybe I don’t have the background to dislike her yet 😉

    The other great character is the neighbor. His scenes and dialogues were awesome. And his dad’s threat was Lol funny also.

    I’ll be watching the movie again before too long.

  13. Jordan says:

    @Prakash Yeah, maybe I was a bit harsh on my opinion of DD, but I felt she could’ve toned it down a little in her conversation with Revathy, otherwise, she was fine. But then again, like you said, Prasanna was hammy too, so maybe it was more of how Dhanush directed.

  14. Jordan says:

    Also, Sean Roldan’s songs were so nice – Venpani Malare is my favourite, but his sentimental BGM was a little loud and distracting in some scenes.

  15. Prasad says:

    @Jordan, perhaps that was because Dhanush wanted an Ilaiyaraja-sque style, given the hardcore fan he is.

  16. Pa Paandi was a good watch. It was good to finally see a simple story with good emotions. Good on Dhanush not to go too big with his first venture. Seems like Dhanush has once again proven that he is probably the best all round talent in India among current generation. He is not only a good actor, he is a good director and a smart producer as well. Good luck to him on his Hollywood debut.