Pa.Paandi: An Earnest Story that Manages to Overpower its Flaws
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Dhanush’s debut Directorial Pa. Paandi is simple yet moving. It serves formulaic entertainment intertwined with the evolution of human emotion. Sure, the film has its faults, but its impassioned core surpasses these faults. The strength of a film like Pa.Paandi is its ability to make you laugh and snivel. It has enough drama to immerse you, and it gives you just enough laughs to keep the experience light-hearted. It is this intricate balance that urges you to look past the existent flaws.
Power Paandi is a 64-year-old veteran stunt master. In the film Industry, he is a adored legend, at home his life is centered on the needs of his family. As time advances, loneliness seeps into Paandi’s life making him feel unwanted and unhappy. So, he decides to embark on a ‘soul-searching’ journey that leads him to the rekindling of an old flame that still burns bright. What follows here on is Paandi’s journey of self-discovery and his yearning for unanimous companionship.
The first half of Pa Paandi follows quite a familiar pattern of storytelling. For every substantial moment, there is a dance sequence. For every emotionally investing scene, there is a stunt sequence. Director Dhanush uses this pattern to make sure the film is commercially viable as well. But this doesn’t work as well as he imagined it would, it only fills certain sequences with staged dance routines and overused cliches. In fact, certain scenes are lengthier than they should be. Rather than watching a prolonged sequence of Raj Kiran bashing up a bunch of goons, it would’ve been more impactful if his soul-searching journey was more prolonging.
Considering that Dhanush is still in the process of finding his voice as a filmmaker, these mistakes seem forgivable. But had he stripped the film off of its formulaic pattern, Pa Paandi would have made a mark that would’ve been as deep as a film like Thalaimuraigal.
Pa. Paandi’s earnest method of storytelling shines through in certain scenes. For example, the scene where Pon Thendral pours her heart out to her daughter is impressive. As is the scene where Paandi displays childlike excitement at the sight of his lost love. Scenes like these help you look past the prevailing flaws.
Rajkiran undoubtedly carries the film on his talented shoulders; he brings such endearing shades to Paandi’s character. The leaps and drops of his trustful heart are exhibited delightfully well. Revathy is as graceful as ever. She masters the balance of hesitance and excitement, her character Pon Thendral so effortlessly carries. Prasanna’s overbearing yet caring portrayal of Paandi’s son hits the right notes too.
In his extended cameo, Dhanush as the younger Paandi delivers a noteworthy performance. We see flashes of the Aadukalam charm seep into his role as a naive and young chap. Madonna Sebastian is good, but if she tries to explore a larger emotional palette, she would’ve been remarkable.
Sean Roldan’s refreshing scores lend depth to Power Paandi’s soul-searching journey. The background scores thoughtfully enliven emotions and the tracks from the second half prove to be quite memorable.
The cinematography could have been better. Visually, Power Paandi could’ve used more imagination. Velraj could’ve heightened the impact the narrative makes if he had chosen to employ innovative imagery.
Overall, Pa. Paandi is an emotional joy ride that uses its earnestness to overpower its prevailing flaws. It does not provide a trailblazing experience, but it is a heart-warming journey that you won’t regret taking.