Puriyatha Puthir: This psychological thriller is not taut enough
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Puriyatha Puthir is a weak plot made worse by disjointed dialogues, plastered romance and poor screenplay. Director Ranjith Jeyakodi might have decided to put across a social message through his film but the story he weaves to deliver this is highly ineffective and terribly flawed.
Kathir (Vijay Sethupathi) falls in love with Meera (Gayathrie) at first sight. So, one fine day when Gayathrie just walks into his music instrument store, he befriends her and eventually, persuades her to fall in love with him. Just as their love for each other begins to bloom, Meera finds her privacy being invaded by a mysterious stranger. When this stranger sends obscene videos of Meera to Kathir, matters become serious and Kathir decides to take matters in his own hands. But as he gets closer to solving the mystery, the tables turn and he becomes the target and his privacy gets compromised in the process. The events that follow this invasion of privacy form the crux of the story.
Puriyatha Puthir suffers from weak cinematic structure and one might get a feeling it is helmed by a naïve first-timer. There is lot of spoon feeding by the filmmaker. Most of the conversation scenes use dialogues to reiterate what the audience has already understood through the visual storytelling.
The film has fragmented and non-cohesive parallel storylines, incoherent dialogues, distracting music and an outdated narrative approach. Furthermore, it never receives a chance at redemption due to the plot’s lumpy exposition and a misconstrued climax.
An hour and a half into the film, the culprit, who has invaded Gayathrie’s privacy is exposed and arrested. Later, in the climax, you are told that the real culprit is someone else. But it fails to dwell upon why and how was the first culprit implicated for the crime in the first place. His character abruptly appears and disappears without a proper explanation. You never understand his presence in the film.
The social issue this film intends to touch upon is relevant but the approach it takes to confront that issue is outdated. A fresh perspective to envelop the film’s social message could’ve made it more relatable.
The characters in Puriyatha Puthir have unrealistic reactions to troubling situations. In one scene, a woman is victimized by the entire college. Portraying the members of the entire college as villains just to milk sympathy for the female character is a classic example of lazy writing. If the scene took upon a much more balanced writing, it would have evoked some genuine sympathy for the victim.
Puriyatha Puthir borrows the same premise as the sleeper hit, Lens. But the humongous success of Lens was due to its gritty approach. It had a haunting rhythm that was driven by honesty. The kind of issues the central character in Lens had to go through in his life, changed it drastically. Introducing such relatable and surprising elements to the three-act structure immersed the audiences in its thought-provoking plot. But Puriyatha Puthir lacks the maturity to make you think. Owing to its tactless and outdated approach, you remain unaffected by the proceedings in the story.
Reactions and counter-reactions from the characters seem extremely artificial. When Kathir discovers that a stranger is secretly filming his girlfriend, he never confronts the suspects or tries to reason out with them. He yells at them and they yell back, agitating the perpetrators of the crime even more in the process.
The climax is troubling and definitely not convincing. For the sake of not revealing the ending, we can only say you will come out of the hall thoroughly unsatisfied.
After being a witness to Vijay Sethupathi’s astounding performance in Vikram Vedha, it is disappointing to see the actor’s mediocre performance in Puriyatha Puthir. He looks out-of-place in the romantic scenes. Gayathrie’s performance is amateur and forgettable. Even in alarming situations, she refuses to move a muscle and maintains the same expression throughout the length of the film.
Music director Sam C.S’s background scores are abruptly placed. His songs too lack freshness. Some songs sound like a rehash of popular Tamil tracks. Cinematographer Dinesh Krishnan fails to create frame suspense. A ‘withhold and reveal’ rhythm of visual storytelling, which should have been applied in the film, is not put into practice. But a majority of the blame falls on the director’s inability to create a story that tries to stay true to its genre.