One has to feel for Jiiva. Most reviewers called his last film, Yaan (2014), a ‘Yawn’. We at Silverscreen went a step further and called it ‘A Big Yawn‘. Now with Pokkiri Raja, the big has been upgraded to giant. For two reasons. One, much of the film is about a protagonist who suffers from chronic yawning. Two, because throughout the film, that’s what the audience ends up.
Sanjeevi (Jiiva) suffers from chronic yawning. His yawn is so contagious that it can put everyone around him to sleep. He loses his job because of this. His girlfriend also dumps him. Cut to the headache inducing Athuvutta song. He then chances upon Hansika, but is repelled by her. He assumes that she smokes and drinks. Eventually, of course, they do get together. After all, two songs have been composed, just for them to dance. Can’t let that go to waste.
Running parallel to this is the story of a goon called ‘Cooling Glass’ Guna (Sibiraj). It’s hard to take someone called ‘Cooling Glass’ seriously. However, the film tells us that he’s a terrifying villain. He has murdered twelve people. He also walks in slow motion with a trademark background refrain. His character is so badly written that, quite possibly, even Sibiraj was confused about whether to play him as a badass villain, or a clown. Either way, what comes across is the latter.
The story is about how Sanjeevi and Guna’s lives intertwine. And it doesn’t bother with logic.
Sanjeevi’s yawning doesn’t just put people to sleep. It’s also a multi-purpose, portable power-fan. It has the power to accidentally knock people down. Or lift a nurse’s skirt. What’s a commercial film without scenes like that?
Later, we are introduced to a doctor who, implausibly enough, specialises in yawning. The doctor shows us videos of a (supposedly) Korean girl, whose yawning creates a mini-hurricane. (The background isn’t Korea, and the girl looks like an Indian from the North East – but it’s all the same to this film.)
It doesn’t end there. We are told that Sanjeevi’s great great grandfather was a freedom fighter who had mastered the art of controlling the wind. And kept the English at bay. All this with the help of some shoddy computer graphics. We understand fantasy, but this?
It all winds down with a fight between Guna and Sanjeevi at an abandoned factory. Where else? And then, all Sanjeevi has to do is blow at the goons.
Hansika plays a ‘Clean India’ campaign worker. Armed with a water tanker, she hoses down men urinating on the streets. This is the film’s eco-friendly way of teaching people a lesson. With this film, she joins the crowded list of heroines who had little to do except smile, look pretty, dance to songs, and make emoticon faces. The real, albeit tiny, step forward for her are the comedy scenes.
The screenplay swings between extremes that test our tolerance. Fat jokes, fart jokes, racist jokes. They all pop up at random intervals. And have nothing to do with the storyline and previous scenes.
D Imman seems to be wearing Srikanth Deva’s shoes this time. The BGMs literally say what’s happening on screen. There’s a scene where Hansika’s organisation ‘You Stop, We Stop’ hoses some people down. The background music croons ‘You stopp, we stoppp‘. In another scene, Hansika distributes sweets. Imman sings “Paalkova Paalkova“.
And when Guna places the Aruva on Jiiva’s neck, he sings, ‘Get ready to die‘. Oh but that one’s for us, the audience.
After a promising debut with last year’s Tamizhuku En Ondrai Azhuthavum, a taut thriller interlaced with fantasy and comedy, Rdisappoints with Pokkiri Raja, a mishmash created by a weird imagination and sheer randomness.
The Pokkiri Raja 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 any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.