Pandigai: An Engrossing Blend of Challenging Genres
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Pandigai is a raw, quirky and well-written film that takes you on a swift journey that excitingly blends two challenging genres. Debutant director Feroz exudes tremendous confidence as the underground fighting sequences transcend into an engrossing heist territory filled with refreshing twists and turns. The only settings that hold the film back are comedy and romance.
Pandigai follows Muni (Saravanan) and Velu (Kreshna). Muni is a compulsive gambler trying to score back his gigantic losses through one last solid attempt. Velu is an angry young man with killer moves and a painful past. Caught in troubling circumstances, both of them desperately seek money. So, when their paths cross, they are given an opportunity to be a part of the deadly underground world of street-fighting. While, this opportunity could fetch them a lump sum, they equally risk losing it all. Their survival in this dangerous fight-club and the measures they take to win back their deceived losses form the core of this plot.
One of the main reasons why Pandigai is so interesting is because it never casts a spotlight on just one character. Most of the characters actors have significant roles in the film. Whether it’s Muni’s impulsive shades of grey or Velu’s stubbornness in having to be respectable, the characters bravely bear all their quirks on their sleeves, bringing in a realistic shade to the script.
It is impressive to note the swift pace debut director Feroz maintains throughout the film. From start to finish, Pandigai moves fast and steady. In the first half, the film takes you on a journey through the underground fight clubs all the while covering the betting scenario in the city. In the second half, it metamorphoses into a heist film brilliantly merging both genres.
The clarity in the script also has to be attributed to the director. Pandigai never compromises its style and depth. The comments thrown in the way of the film’s characters mirror the audience perception most of the times. For instance, In Velu’s very first fight, you undermine him just as much as the onlookers do. So, providing a justifiable explanation in such circumstances builds on the film’s credibility. The unfolding of Pandigai’s climax is particularly complex and fascinating. The character arcs in this final sequence are etched out masterfully.
The only two segments director Feroz fares poorly in are comedy and romance. The latest addition to the over-bubbly, dumb and unbearably chirpy portrayal of women in Tamil Cinema is Kaviya (Anandhi). She is equivalent to Genelia in Santhosh Subramaniam and Hansika in Bogan. Such an amateur and juvenile love track could’ve been scrapped off by the director. Another failing aspect in the film is Thriupathi’s (Black Pandi) forced attempts at comedy. When you have such an intriguing premise why succumb to overused clichés by employing an unfunny and annoying friend-of-the-hero to delivery meager attempts at comedy.
The stunt choreography in Pandigai is distinctive and arresting. The fighting sequences maintain a balance in relaying believability and suspense. The destructive sequences involving rogue twins in the second half will definitely leave you glued to your seats.
As Velu, Kreshna delivers the best performance of his career. His display of angst and vulnerability captures the essence of his character impeccably. Anandhi’s presence in the film is unwarranted. Saravanan, Lawrence and Madhusoodhanan deliver memorable and immersive performances.
Music and cinematography lend the film a sturdy backbone. It ensures the scripted nuances are laced with realism and impactful quirks.
On the whole, Pandigai will surprise you with its suspenseful screenplay and polished execution. Give this enthralling heist film a watch, you won’t regret it.