More than anything else, Puli is about Pawan Kalyan wanting to get feverishly worked up and mouth deafeningly loud lines about what irks him about the world. The rest is a frivolous set of disjointed attempts to build substance around one man's intention to repeatedly make a heated Independence Day speech.
For a film being advertised as a hi-tech action thriller, Puli is over-the-top in spirit. It doesn't have an extraordinary story in the first place, and the makers aren't very subtle while narrating it. Unsubtle plus stupid - now that is shaky ground for a star to throw himself onto, 2 years after his last project
The hero is introduced to us in the form of his hapless and pregnant mom's puke. This is when an uneasy curiosity about what else this movie will bring to you sneaks up menacingly onto you. However, Pawan Kalyan's fans know that it's him in the womb, and start cheering.
So Komaram Puli (Pawan Kalyan) is this incredible award-winning super cop. He tells the government that if he's given a team and enough resources, he'll ensure that he will resolve every single police complaint made by citizens in every single lane in every single colony in every single city in every single state in every single country on every single planet. Alright, we admit we're exaggerating - he stopped at either "colony" or "city", we forget - but we're sure he did mean to zoom all the way up.
The film shows us a couple of examples of how amazing this team (the "Puli Team") is, and before you can savour some genuinely impressive and touching moments of Gandhigiri, it quickly moves on to the actual story. Al Saleem (Manoj Bajpai) is a don who wields power over the entire state - it's political leaders, even - and Puli runs into him when investigating the case of a police officer who went missing a couple of years ago.
Komaram Puli should have stuck to the Puli Team concept, at least to logically complete the fantasy. Pawan Kalyan delivering passionate dialogues of righteousness and duty is indeed absorbing and stirring, and this is what the film should have exclusively capitalized on.
Instead, it moves on to an ordinary plot of the hero trying to get even with the villain. All the slick gadgetry and quick-paced action slowly feels shallow because nothing impressive is happening to the story except for the dialogues. The violence doesn't dominate the script, but its intensity does.
Strangely, Al Saleem doesn't even seem all that evil to you, since he's not given a chance to be, thanks to how much the hero is all over the place. Al Saleem is painted as an absolutely eccentric character, one that is intended to be funny but that makes you feel sorry for Manoj Bajpai beyond a point.
The romance is led by a nymphomaniacal heroine brought in from the '90s, but this one's not even pleasant. The woman (Nikesha Patel) is capable of stooping to the worst kinds of emotional blackmail to marry her man, and while she's not being sleazy, she's being so dumb she insults even the hero's intelligence.
Pawan Kalyan, like we said, is all over the place. That's not a bad thing to happen, but his all-consuming energy seems to serve no purpose beyond a point. His dialogues are lengthy and delivered at a frightening pace, and it does get monotonous.
For Manoj Bajpai, playing a caricature evidently isn't tough job. Ali has a tiny comic track. The heroine has some stunningly bad lip-sync going for her, even in the songs. Surprisingly, all throughout the songs, she looks about as disinterested as an extra.
Rahman's music has, in all probability, grown on you by now. However, the picturization and the choreography of the songs are dampeners when compared to the sheer variety in sound that the man delivers in a couple of them.
We're sure several have vowed to watch this flick regardless of how it may turn out to be, but if you aren't among them, there's not much reason to join the rushes for Puli.