Uthama Puthiran

Uthama Puthiran

Co-incidentally, on the same weekend as we decided to review Ready for the blog, I found out that the Tamil remake was releasing in the cinema.  It took a few phone calls, messages, and hanging around the cinema, but eventually the showing was confirmed and I was able to settle in to watch Uthama Puthiran.

I was a bit apprehensive about seeing this film – Ready is such a favourite of mine, and much as I love Dhanush, I wish he would tackle something other than Telugu remakes.  But I needn’t have worried. Mithran Jawahar has done a great job with Uthama Puthiran and it is a very good film in its own right.

As this was another adventure without subtitles, thankfully the film follows the basic storyline of Ready.  Gopimohan wrote the screenplay and seems to have both retold the story and given it a few new twists.  Dhanush plays Siva, (the role originally played by Ram) while Genelia reprises her role as Pooja. As we’ve just described the story in the previous review I won’t go through it again since it’s fundamentally the same.  The main differences are in the comedy subplots and in the interactions between the two feuding sides of the family. 

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Dhanush is laid back in his role as Siva and plays it very cool. He is convincing as the carefree student, zipping around on his motorbike, with a knack for impromptu marriage planning and accountancy.  Genelia makes the character of Pooja a little more serious, but still has plenty of playfulness and charm. I was very impressed with her acting in this role, and her ability to take the same character in the same storyline and yet still make her novel and appealing.

Uthama PuthiranUthama Puthiran

Siva’s family are delightful and particularly good as they con Pooja’s family into believing they are rich Americans on the hunt for bridegrooms for their fictional daughters.  Ashish Vidyarthi and Jayaprakash seem well cast as the feuding uncles and the other supporting cast members all do a good job.  The hapless tourist who is kidnapped along the way is played by Mayilsamy, and this part of the comedy track works well, as do the scenes with the family guru. In the main comedy plot, Vivek does a fantastic job as ‘Emotional’ Ekambaram.  His bafflement at his created characters coming to life and his consternation as he spots Siva and Pooja together is hilarious . Despite not understanding a word he said I thought he was excellent in his role, and managed to convey so much with his expressions and body language.

Uthama Puthiran

The romance between the two leads works well and there is great chemistry between them.  The song sequences are lovely, although it would have been nice to see Dhanush dance more.  The songs set in Bern are beautifully pictured with some clever use of colour and excellent use of the scenery.  There is some great work by Balasubramaniyen in the cinematography here.  I much prefer this soundtrack by Vijay Antony to the Telugu version, although for some reason not all of the songs on the CD release actually appear in the film.

Uthama PuthiranUthama Puthiran

The second half is quite long, and there are a number of very dialogue heavy scenes with Pooja’s family.  I found these tended to drag as I couldn’t follow the dialogue, and the film did seem to diverge a little  from the Telugu version.  But overall the movie is very watchable, with just as much, although perhaps a little more subtle humour than Ready.  Certainly the audience was laughing throughout!

Uthama Puthiran

Again the lead pairing are what make Uthama Puthiran a cut above a standard romance, and although the supporting cast are all fine, the screen really comes alive when Dhanush and Genelia appear together.  Mithran Jawahar has to be commended on his direction as he has made the film just as enjoyable and entertaining as Ready.  I hope that the DVD will release with subtitles, although I will buy it regardless for the songs and the great performance by Dhanush and Genelia.  4 ½ stars.



There are three reasons that we ended up watching this film. It’s an S.S Rajamouli creation. It was name checked in the opening sequence of Desamuduru. The other was a throwaway remark by our good friend The Mahesh Fan: “Once you’ve seen Prabhas fight the CGI shark there’s not much else to it.” And she said that like it was a bad thing! We ordered the DVD immediately.

The film is a familiar ‘hero looking for lost mother’ tale intertwined with a search for social justice and a jealous half brother to flesh out the storyline.  Some time is spent setting up the back story for hero Shivaji (Prabhas). Separated from his doting step-mother and jealous step-brother after fleeing Sri Lanka, he and the other men who made it across the sea are working as bonded labourers to a local thug Baji Rao. By the time young Shivaji has grown all the way up into rather lanky Prabhas, apathy born of despair seems to be well entrenched into the refugees.  Inspired by his mother’s stories of the heroic Chatrapathi and traumatised by the brutality inflicted by the strong on the weak, Shivaji is truthful, defends the innocent and has never given up on finding his family. He also has a shell necklace given to him by his mother. This will become Very Significant.

But it’s the shark scene we were hanging out for! We applaud Rajamouli’s dedication to the CGI predators in his films. It really is fabulous, and this shark is a scene stealer. It growls!




This very silly episode gives Prabhas a highly memorable heroic entrance scene. It sets Shivaji up as resourceful, capable, tough, resilient and with exceptional lung capacity.

Life is cheap in this refugee settlement, and Katraj (Baji Rao’s man) rules the roost. The level of violence, both implied and actual and especially against women and children is very confronting. It does serve to illustrate the inhumanity of the thugs in charge, the general lack of support for the under classes and most importantly for a film of this type, it allows the hero to arise from the masses. The sight of a child lying near death as people watch on is not easy to view as a light entertainment.

The romantic interest, Neelu played by Shriya, works at a local government office and after some supposedly comic misunderstandings (she thought they thought she was a prostitute, puns on the words “repu” meaning tomorrow and “rape”) locates the necessary file but not the actual address of the missing mother.  Unknown to Shivaji, his mother and brother are alive and well and not far away. And his brother Ashok still doesn’t like him one little bit. Romance blooms. More rape jokes and sadism pranks ensue. And Bhardam, Shivaji’s oldest friend on the settlement and the voice of caution and moderation is killed.

Corruption and rowdyism are the bane of Shivaji’s people and the film takes a darker note when he becomes a popular leader and takes up the ruthless methods of the people he wants to displace.


The fight scenes are brutal and gory, leaving nothing to the imagination. The violence is cartoonish and unreal but still seriously dark. He takes to kidnapping, extortion, bombs and guns with no hesitation. The shocking end to a confrontation with his brother Ashok then propels the story into a final escalation of score-settling.


Neelu and Shivaji’s friends disappear into the background of the story, often appearing as silhouettes or blurry figures as the second half of the film is pure Prabhas revenge-o-drama. The machinations of Ashok continue to drive some truly bizarre behaviour and Shivaji is no closer to regaining the love of his mother. Baji Rao’s brother muscles in on the action to become the new face of evil and gives Shivaji another enemy to fight.  The final scenes include a travelogue of Hyderabad’s temples and a catalogue of lies, tears and betrayals before things go up in flames. Literally.

In the nick of time, Shivaji’s mother recognises the Very Significant shell necklace. Everyone who is still alive at the end of the film gets the life they deserve.

The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and filmed, but may be too bloody for some tastes. The same care was given to the songs but Prabhas is not as comfortable dancing as he is in stunts and fights. The camera work in all the action sequences was excellent and really conveyed a sense of an epic struggle between heroic and villainous forces.

The support cast were effective although very much in support. Ajay played his usual sidekick role, and had a bit more range as his character was both a thug and a caring older brother. Kamal Kamaraju was another of Shivaji’s inner circle but mostly just had to stand around looking cross. Venu Madhav was the comic relief and supplied a few laughs especially in his “Anniyan” skit. Shriya was typically girly and shrill as the heroine but also displayed some good comic flair and had a few scenes allowing her to be a bit feistier. The mother (Bhanu Priya) was an irritatingly passive and trusting character for the most part, although conveyed the anguish over her sons very well. Ashok (Shafi) was a bit less successful in making his character seem at all real or memorable. He missed the mark on showing both the madness of twisted jealousy and the neediness of the overlooked son and just went for bug eyed, grimacing and grinning for comedic effect.


The soundtrack worked really well and suited both the drama and the performers. In particular, the Mumaith Khan item number was great fun and was tailor made for her. The backing cast and dancers all seemed to throw themselves into it with enthusiasm. The Chatrapathi chant that accompanied Shivaji added that element of mythical heroism, and suited the epic nature of the underlying themes.

Finally, a special shout out to whoever designed Prabhas’ outfits. We do want to know what they were on when they chose some of the shirts! It’s a bit cruel to put a tall lanky man in lolly pink and then make him dance like he means it.

Temple says: Chatrapathi is entertaining enough due to Rajamouli’s ability to make the most cliched story seem fresh and Prabhas’ likeable screen presence. The film is all his and it works most of the time. The story was secondary to the heroics and flexing, and the supporting characters were given little range. I am frequently bewildered by the White Queen style ability of a filmi mother to believe six impossible things before breakfast and this film continues that trend. Ashok’s character was a sketch rather than a fleshed out role and Shafi did what he could— but it felt like a missed opportunity as a bit more depth there would have added to the tension of the final scenes. I know Heather can’t stand Shriya but I think the heroine roles are generally written as irritating air-heads so I try to make allowances . On my personal scale of how annoying was Shriya? this is one of her least irritating roles (perhaps as there was no stupid meringue hair). I quite like the soundtrack and the songs were highlights as they were often a respite from the gore and gunshots.  Mumaith Khan is a favourite as she always looks like she is having such a great time and is totally in on the joke. I love that the South Indian heroes know that they can’t avoid dancing so regardless of their comfort levels, they just do it. I always giggle at the sight of Mahesh Babu in a lunghi (something about those long skinny pale legs) and now I can add Prabhas to the list of men who should stick to wearing trousers please!

This isn’t a film I will re-watch over and over, although the shark fight was on high rotation for a while. There was something endearingly Parvarish-like about the special effects in that scene, and I love that Rajamouli had his shark snarling, snapping and almost literally chewing the scenery. I give this 3 and 1/2 stars.

Heather says: Prabhas is a hero very much in the style of early Amitabh Bachchan in this film.  He is the ‘angry young man’ who is searching for his mother and will let no obstacle stand in his way.  Unlike Amitabh though, he makes a fair attempt at dancing!   In the first half of the film Shivaji is truly the hero with his drive to always do the right thing, and of course his constant search for his step-mother.  His switch from the hero of the docks to violent thug is quite abrupt and rather confronting, and he seems to be almost a  different character.  I did enjoy Ajay’s slightly more sensitive role here, and I like the way that both young Shivaji and the grown up version had the same mannerisms.  There really should have been no need for an identifying significant necklace!  This film also has one of my favourite lines, at least according to the subtitles: ‘trust your whiskers’!

Shriya is still not my preferred actress – there is just something about her that irritates, and I was quite relieved when her character was sidelined in the second half of the film. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed Shafi’s characterisation of the jealous step-brother Ashok.  Especially when he has some money and can indulge his terrible taste in clothes and become as obnoxious as he has clearly always wanted to be.  Overall I felt the story works well, providing there is some major suspension of disbelief that Shivaji couldn’t find his step-mother even though she lives close by! Plus there is that shark scene, which really is fantastic! 3 1/2 stars from me.


Kanthaswamy is not a great film, but instead serves as an excellent example of what might have been. A potentially appealing concept – a modern superhero/Robin Hood taking on the system, with all the benefits of the latest film technology and a good cast. And yet it falls short of the mark. A meandering story line, an irritating heroine and uneven pace mean this falls into mediocre territory.  It’s still a moderately enjoyable film, but could have been a lot better.

Vikram plays Kanthasamy, an officer in the economic offences department of the CBI who leads a double life as Kanthaswamy, a modern day version of Robin Hood.  Pay attention to that “w”! Using a local temple dedicated to Lord Murugan to assess who is in need , he and his band of merry men use money they have acquired as a result of their CBI raids, and distribute it to the poor.

Kanthasamy’s back up team are skilled in theatrical productions and technology, and after each reckoning with the villains, we get to see how it was set-up. We really enjoyed this – it was a cool twist on the invulnerable loner type of heroes. It also allowed for some back story about the group of friends and the introduction of one of the villains of the story.

Kanthaswamy is literally a ‘chicken’ superhero.  He has a great lair with numerous chickens which presumably come in handy for costume feathers as well as for Kanthaswamy to perfect his chicken impersonations.

Vikram is awesome as a chicken. No one else to our knowledge has managed to capture the mannerisms and emotional range of a chicken as well as he.  He makes the most of these Chicken Superhero moments and these are when the film works best.

There is also some clever comedy as Kanthaswamy metes out punishment to those who try to cheat the poor. One of the best moments occurs when local ne’er-do-wells pray for an Aishwarya Rai lookalike to come visit them and have some “fun” – and their wish is fulfilled in an unexpected but truly deserved manner.

The growing fame of Kanthaswamy brings the attention of police and media, and everyone wants to know who the Masked Chicken Man is. He falls foul (had to do it!) of local big-shot PPP, who promptly fakes illness to avoid further police action.   The rest of the plot revolves around PPP and another local crime lord Raj Mohan; detailing their various machinations to eliminate both avatars of Kanthasamy so they can get back to their illegal financial skulduggery, and the ways in which their plans are foiled.

As a second thread, PPP’s daughter, Subbulakshmi is roped in by her father to seduce Kanthasamy and bring him into her father’s crime organisation.  This very annoying character is played by Shriya. It says a lot that at one stage, Subbu’s life was in danger and we were yelling at the screen for Kanthasamy to let her die!  Portraying the heroine in the monotonously OTT way chosen here gave Shriya nothing positive to work with – as we didn’t buy the emotional element to the story, it became a distraction and deadweight. And her hair looks like a meringue; it’s also very distracting and annoying.  Shriya has been better in other films we have seen, so we suspect the director may have really missed the mark with this. The role itself had potential to elicit more sympathy from viewers but the performance highlights the narcissistic, arrogant and trashy aspects over the more likeable qualities that could have been conveyed.

Vikram plays his role quite deadpan, and the direction relies on a psychic voiceover to convey many of the inner thoughts and feelings “I know she knows that I know she knows”. This is a good gimmick, but is overused and may hamper the performances.

The running comedy track involving a dim-witted petty crook who operates in the vicinity of the temple is integrated with the story and is occasionally funny. But it is too long, recurs too often and disrupts the rhythm of the story.

The songs were huge hits. They are well integrated into the film and are successfully used to show aspects of the character.  However, there is limited dancing, always a negative in our view, and what dancing there is wasn’t well choreographed for the actors’ skills.  The exception to this is the songs featured on Vikram and friends which does work much better.  Allegra in particular is a fine example of how bad choreography can derail a song!   And the subtitles throughout the songs are frequently perplexing!

The first half of the film moves along pretty well. There is intrigue as Subbu and her evil father PPP attempt to destroy Kanthasamy as he takes on big business and corruption in and out of the police force. Then it all goes off the rails as the story shifts to Mexico for no good reason.

The motivation of characters seems to get muddled as well. Subbu wanted Kanthasamy to love her so she could destroy him but she loves him or doesn’t (we really couldn’t work this out!) and there is no rationale embedded in her changes of heart.  A needlessly convoluted sting operation later, the characters return to India, and the film starts racing to its conclusion.

Finally, PPP gets Kanthasamy in his clutches and thinks he has control over the activity of Superhero Kanthaswamy as well – but he is mistaken. Subbu learns that her father isn’t the man she thought he was, and Kanthasamy is more than a match for her. We learn that we are all Kanthaswamy or maybe we’re not, and that in the Rock-Paper-Scissors of life, a sledgehammer will beat a bus any day.  All’s well that ends well, but do we still care?

You may be wondering about item numbers. We were. Luckily Mumaith Khan shows them how it’s done! (Beverage warning applies – get the drinks away from the computer before you watch this. We have warned you.)

Heather says: I heard the songs from Kanthaswamy while I was working in Tamil Nadu as they were being played everywhere.  Even the local school children performed to Allegra at their prize giving.  I’d even seen the song clips as we had DVDs on our bus, so knew that the choreography didn’t quite live up to the potential of Devi Sri Prasad’s music.  (The reactions of the other Australian Health Professionals  to their first views of Mumaith Khan gyrating away to some uninhibited subtitles was however priceless!)  So I was disappointed when I managed to watch the entire film, as it could have been so much better!  There are quite a few notable moments in the film, but they are all centred on Chicken Superhero Kanthaswamy and his team of experts.  I really didn’t like Shriya in this at all, and found her presence to be an annoying distraction which totally derailed the plot for me.   Her storyline could have been removed which I think would have made for a more coherent plot and subsequently better paced film.  I don’t understand why Susi Ganeshan decided to make her such an unsympathetic character, as by the end there seemed to be no reason why Kanthasamy would fall in love with her. Indeed the actors seem to have come to the same conclusion as this romance was very unconvincing.  The frequent cuts from Vikram fighting as Kanthaswamy to him exercising and training may have been an attempt to make the film feel more like a HW blockbuster, but just disrupted the flow for me.  Despite this, overall the film looks good with some great visual effects and excellent choreography in the fight scenes.  Ashish Vidyarthi and Mukesh Tiwari were excellent as the villains and much more entertaining than the good guys.   But despite the amazing chicken impersonations, and great songs this film ultimately just disappoints – especially when you can see how good it might have been!  3 stars from me

Temple says: I didn’t hate this film, but there wasn’t a lot to love either. Ultimately, the frustration of seeing the potential for this to be a more entertaining film but not getting there overwhelmed the positives. The constant shifts from superhero to comedy to unconvincing romance just grated. If this had been a straight out Robin Hood crime caper with a superhero and his team taking on the system, I think it could have been great. Despite the big FX budget and glossy visuals this has a real pot-boiler feel as elements appeared to be added on at whim – the excursion to Mexico, the comedy track, the sting operation etc. Shriya really fails to impress in the role of Subbu, and yet I have quite liked her in other films (Chatrapathi for example, and she was very good in Kutty). For those of you wondering about whether her hairdo really did look like a meringue:

Vikram was good as the Chicken Man but less effective as the real Kanthasamy – perhaps due to the voice-over which spared him the need to emote in many scenes. They had no chemistry at all as a couple, although there is a really dire attempt at seductive song magic in the “Miaow Miaow” track. I tend to feel the director was at fault for this character misfire as the performers are capable but the film overall lacks a centre. I don’t like the soundtrack that much, and really the only reason to re-watch the songs was for the spectacular subtitles.  It’s actually not a bad time pass, but I was hoping for a lot more. I give this 3 and 1/2 stars – it gets a bonus half star for the excellent drag fight choreography.