Pa. Pandi is a 2017 Tamil drama film written and directed by Dhanush and stars Rajkiran, Prasanna, Chaya Singh and Revathi. The film follows the life of a 64-year old man as he attempts to reconnect with himself after a lifetime devoted to building a family and a career.
I just will not understand why the film’s title was changed from Power Pandi to Pa. Pandi. I know there is a reason to it but I choose to not acknowledge it.
This film was one of the most refreshing ones I’ve seen this year. Refreshing doesn’t mean balls to the wall spectacular, it does mean its thought process and primary plot are both innovative for the Indian film industry (for the most part). As an audience, we have been subjected to frail old people who are literally shown to be on their death-beds the second they hit their 60s as a cheap way to garner empathy. This film has a few bits of that but let’s talk about that later.
I was in my chair thinking this would be another one of those pandering bore-fests but the plot takes a hard left turn midway through the first half and takes an even harder lefter turn by the end of the first half. The film grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and said “You think you could predict me? Not today sunny. This old man has a few tricks up his sleeve”.
Rajkiran deserves a huge deal of praise for being badass, empathetic, warm and charming all at the same time. I want to go into specifics of things he does which show all these attributes but… experience it for yourselves and enjoy it.
I had a great deal of fun with the comedic elements, Rajkiran’s performance, the lead character’s outlook towards life, his story and struggle, the reverence shown towards films etc. So many good things at play here. I almost forgot to throw in some praise towards the impeccable score the film possesses. I want to keep the plot a secret because I would like for every reader to watch the film for themselves and be as surprised as I was. The contingent of the audience who were in their golden years loved this film because of the respect it shows to them without pandering to them. You know how basic films act as wish fulfillment to the average teen or young man or middle-aged man, this film works as wish fulfillment for their parents and grandparents.
All this praise is not to say that the film has no flaws. It does. The first 20 minutes are quite wonky when compared to the third act’s flourish. Dhanush’s direction is not quite as assured. The pacing is slightly off. The film does devolve into playing to the crowds in a few instances because that sells tickets I guess. The son and daughter-in-law are slightly underwritten. They have their moments of character but they are few. All this and a tiny bit more bones I want to pick with this film.
I don’t want to bog anyone down with any more negatives because I felt positively happy as the end credits started to roll. I had a good time at the movies and I’m fairly positive most others will too. Dhanush takes his time and directs genuinely emotional moments between wholly engaging characters. He shows older people the respect they deserve by making them smart, capable and downright hilarious.
Dude, the film has a one-liner spouting, ass-beating grandad who isn’t an over-the-top crime lord or drug dealer or a cop. Seriously, think about how fun that sounds.
After a slew of the run-of-the-mill, guilt-inducing nonsense, it’s just a breath of fresh air when a film comes along and takes a stand on the right end of the debate.
OVERALL SCORE –