Film: "Kutti Puli"; Cast: M. Sasikumar, Lakshmy Menon, Saranya Ponvannan and Prabha; Director: M. Muthaiah; Rating: **
Having realised his strength quite early on in his career, Sasikumar once again chooses a film that exploits rural settings to the fullest. And every time he has used the rural backdrop, his films have reaped gold at the box office, including his last film "Sundarapandian". "Kutti Puli" may likely follow the trend, but I highly doubt if it will leave a similar impact a la "Subramaniapuram" or "Nadodigal".
Improvisation is the need of the hour in cinema, but Sasikumar seems to be pushing it under the carpet by continuing to do mass-appeal films. He may be successful, but this success is not likely going to last forever.
Kutti Puli (Sasikumar) lost his father at a young age in a local gang rivalry, and since then has been raised single-handedly by his mother, who fears that he will grow up to be just like his father. Unfortunately, he does grow up to be like his father and even picks up the same traits that got him killed.
No matter how hard the mother tries, her efforts only prove futile because Puli lives by his own principles. However, she believes if she could get him married then probably he may turn responsible and take control of his life. But Puli is against marriage because he believes that with so many people who wish to see him dead, his future wife may have live like his mother, who was left behind by his father.
What makes Puli have a change of heart and eventually agree to marry? This forms the rest of the story.
The film very subtly highlights that two most important women in our lives are mother and wife, who have very pivotal parts to play. Even though the film is a commercial entertainer at heart, debutant director Muthaiah has played the sentimental card extremely well to keep the audiences hooked through certain emotional moments.
Thankfully, he doesn't make this whole mother and wife analogy sound too preachy, but uses it far too occasionally in the film. You will also notice that the film is high on elements commonly found in Sasikumar's films such as friendship, revenge, family, witty one-liners and lots of blood and gore. While all the elements have been used appropriately at regular intervals, one doesn't find anything new to be excited about.
The film struggles in the second half and unnecessarily gets dragged by songs and few cliched fight sequences.
Kutti Puli also reminds us of the fact that Sasi is no longer an actor, but a commercial hero with mass following because he now has a typical hero entry scene welcomes by hoots and applauds.
Sasikumar is again seen in an angry young man avatar with a good side that needs to be awakened. Even though he played his role with ease and confidence, he is starting to get repetitive with his choice of films. While it needs to be accepted that his core audiences are folks from B and C centers in Tamil Nadu, that doesn't allow him to discard multiplex goers.
Saranya Ponvannan hardly has any part to play besides crying in every other scene, while Prabha, who makes a comeback after a long hiatus, has an equally unsatisfying part. Lakshmi Menon plays her part well while the rest of the cast goes unnoticed with short screen presence.
If you're a fan of Sasikumar, revisit some of his earliest films of his career.