Love stories are completely predictable. And unlike masala movies, which have different options like action,
comedy and sentiments, to fall back on and keep things moving, love stories have to bank only on the romance. So its
upto the director to present us with an interesting lead pair, fashion a fun romance between them and guide the
screenplay in an engaging fashion when the romance runs into roadblocks. First-time director Kanagu manages to do all
of these, making the low-profile Pudichirukku one of the better romances in recent times.
The first meeting between Velu(Ashok), who works in a lorry service booking office, and Manju(Visaka), a college
student, doesn't go well. While she is going on the bike with her dad(Sampath Raj), her papers fly off from her lap,
blinding Velu and causing him to crash his bike. An infuriated Velu shouts at her and almost comes to blows with her
dad. But Manju is concerned about his health and once he cools down, Velu too realizes that his words may have been
a tad too harsh. These feelings gradually turn into romance but Manju's dad, an ex-military officer who is now working
in Customs, isn't too happy when he finds out about it.
Originality is good but Pudichirukku proves that it is not a necessity for us to enjoy a film. From the basic
storyline of a romance being opposed by the girl's strict father to individual sequences like the one where Ashok
shows up drunk in front of Visaka's house, this is a film that doesn't contain a shred of originality. But within
such familiar scenarios, the director manages to introduce a feeling of freshness with the way he constructs
sequences and develops the story. Whether the romance between the lead pair or the conversations between Visaka and
her father, there is a touch of realism that goes a long way in helping us overlook feelings of deja vu.
The romance between Ashok and Visaka is developed naturally and convincingly. The tentative excitement between young
lovers is brought out well in their meeting in Ashok's shop and the way the job facilitates their spending some time
alone is sweet. Ganja Karuppu gets a few good laughs at Ashok's expense during these portions too.
Though it is after the fact, Ashok's troubles in Pune prove that the couple's romance has indeed captured our hearts.
As the days stretch on and his situation turns more dire, he earns our sympathy with his confidence and never-day-die
attitude in the face of huge odds. As he looks for Visaka with little to go on, the movie does remind us of a one-sided
version of Kaadhal Koattai , a film based on which we've had many - or rather, too
many - clones. But Ashok's problems, apart from illustrating the depth of his love, succeed in making us feel sorry for
him and hope that he finds Visaka soon. Many of the sequences, like their dinner with a Tamil family at the railway
station, are quite poignant with going overboard. The fact that his problems and solutions are portrayed realistically
has a lot to do with that too.
Everything that was true about the rest of the movie holds good for the climax too - it is predictable and reminds us
of atleast one other movie but still manages to impress us with the way it is executed. Characters come into their
own at just the right time and it doesn't feel artificial.
Ashok, who we saw last year in another love story Murugaa is simple and sincere - two
qualities required for his role to work. He is youthful and natural in the romantic segments and underplays the role
just the right amount in the second half to earn our sympathy. When he talks to Ganja Karuppu and convinces him about
his hopefulness in finding Visaka, he convinces us too to root for him. Visaka is also plain and sincere. Though there
a few places where she does that shy, smiling thing a couple of times more than necessary, she is definitely
expressive and does a good job. Sampath Raj is the typical strict dad while Saranya plays the usual supportive
mom role. New music director Manu Ramesan delivers a perfect soundtrack. Kaatrodu Solli Ponaaye... is catchy with
the quick editing and fast transitions giving it nice energy. Yaaridam Naan... is also quite melodious. Neither
of these is picturized as a traditional duet and that helps. Enge Naan... is a average number but parts of
the song being sung in Kannada and Hindi as the location changes is a nice touch.