Poojai is no different. It’s the same old recipe served with confidence.
Poojai begins with a slew of rushed introductions. Vishal beats up the bad boys at a market. Shruti wakes up to her dad’s Kallai Mattum Kandaal. Soori enters with his sidekicks. Radhika walks out from a lift.
It’s like shaking hands with too many people at a party; the names barely register before we move on.
But that’s a Hari staple too. He likes to rush things. It is like he wants to get every scene out of the way quickly so he can move on to the next scene.
Events unfold at an alarmingly rapid rate through his movies. The audience feels like it is running with the director, constantly playing catchup.
Poojai‘s pace is set by the introductions. Then a car chase. Or two. An action sequence. A dance in Switzerland. An (offensive) rehash of the old vazhapazha joke.
Then the aruvaal appears. We drive around Coimbatore with the hero.
The camera makes sharp moves from one angle to another, the music – Yuvan Shankar Raja, who is still hung over from Anjaan – is loud and yes, fast-paced.
It is like being on a bus driven by a rash, yet confident driver.
Poojai has all the ingredients of prior superhit Hari films: a righteous young man (Vishal), a joint family (with the requsite maana prechanai, paasa malar moments), and vengeful villains. “I write stories in which I wouldn’t be afraid to act in,” Hari told Silverscreen in an interview earlier this week. He also spoke about how he wanted to be a cop early in his life.
And so there is a cop in this movie too. Played by Sathyaraj, he’s a stud.
Not as much of a stud as Hari’s earlier policemen, though.
Sathyaraj rarely speaks, much to our disappointment. And in an ironic twist – even though a backstory tries to explain why – he speaks Thirunelveli dialect in a movie set in his native Koyammuthoor. Alas.
Poojai will probably help Vishal reestablish himself as an action hero; but we liked him better when he was the uncertain stutterer in Pandianaadu or the vengeful narcoleptic in Naan Sigappu Manidhan. Shruti Haasan is the quintessential Hari heroine minus the paavadai-thavani. It is a limited role, and Shruti goes through the motions while looking pretty and dancing well; even letting Vishal carry her around when he is not carrying an aruvaal around.
One cannot shake off the feeling that she was a little bit of a misfit in the role; a Gautham Menon heroine in a Hari movie.
Andrea dances rather awkwardly for an item-number, looking incongruous in a traditional paavadai-dhavani.
Hari is nothing if not self-aware though. He pokes fun at himself. And he admits, “I never apologise for the kind of stories I show on screen. I am a purely commercial director and these are the only kind of movies that I know to make. …idha thavira enakku theriyadhunga!”
Poojai is that kind of movie.
The Poojai Review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.