Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi - DVD quality - View online, download
Banner: S Pictures
Cast: Vadivelu, Tejasree, Monica, Nadhitha, Nasser, Nagesh, Sriman, Manorama
Production: "Director" Shankar
Music: Sabesh - Murali
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A historical is rare enough in Tamil. A comical historical is many times so. But to our happy surprise, it works – big time, at that. Vadivelu, the prime mover of the movie, makes it all work. Director Simbu Devan, even while making it full of fun, has used his intelligence to lace it with biting satire on many contemporary events.
Simbu Devan needs to be congratulated for thinking out of the box and at the same time director Shankar needs to be patted for giving an opportunity to Simbu Devan to prove his skills.
Though the characters speak chaste Tamil, it is quite close to the audience's grasp and they laugh all the way. A movie set in 18th century, Simbu Devan has speckled the film with present day happenings like cola war, brand endorsements by celebrities and so on. Thankfully, he doesn't preach much in his film and leaves everything to the audience discretion.
Vadivelu playing the hero for the first time has gone hammer and tongs. Utilizing the opportunity well, this actor sparks emotions, plays fool on others, romances, fights with guts and runs for cover at times too.
Vadivelu playing the dual role is a real revelation. Specially as Pulikesi, Vadivelu brings the house down applause whenever he appears on the screen. As Ugiraputhan, a brave youth seeking to reform the society, he plays a serious role and walks with aplomb.Also Nasser, Ilavarasu and Sriman are other standouts in this film, which otherwise is a collage of several spoofs on kings and emperors that we have either read or heard.
The storyline is quite simple. In the shades of MGR's Kudiiruntha Koil and Sivaji Ganesan's Manohara, the movie begins with a selfish Rajguru (Nasser), who is keen on usurping the Veera Chozhapura Palayam kingdom. So he kills 22 potential princes
Also the queen's brother, the Rajguru turns happy when the astrologer predicts that the next child of Queen would be a real idiot and can be molded according to Rajaguru's wish. Unfortunately, a twin is born and Rajguru has no other option but to hand over one child to the astraologer asking him to kill it.
Meanwhile, the King and the Queen name the child as 23 am Pulikesi and grows him up. Thanks to Rajaguru around, the child grows an idiot, fun-loving youth and a womanizer.
Meanwhile the other child grows up as Ugiraputhan and excels in education and warfare. Coming to know of his past, Ugiraputhan unleashes a plan to save his kingdom. He manages to replace Pulikesi and starts to set the house in order thereby incurring the wrath of the Rajaguru.
Finally it is all up to Ugiraputhan and his loyal commander-in-chief (Sriman) in teaching Rajaguru a lesson.
A wafer thin storyline but a hilarious sequence of events makes it enjoyable.
While Vadivelu as Pulikesi catches the imagination of all with his dialogue delivery, the other as Ugiraputhan, seemingly an take-off of MGR in his movies in 1950s, surprises everyone.
Simbu Devan seems to have done his homework well. One cannot resist laughing at the funny encounters between Pulikesi and his soldiers, his hunting experiences and the fear with which he prepares for a war. After this movie, he can be said to be the king of comedies.
Though Simbu Devan has tried his handout at a hilarious film, he has some purpose in it, which he reveals at the end.
The rest of the cast including Manorama, Nasser and Sriman fit their role well. Due credit should be given to art-director Krishnamurthy, who has recreated the palaces of yore before our eyes and the intense research in creating right costumes for all the characters.
Making a period film is no easy joke. But they have taken a period film with all jokes in it. A promising debut venture from a young director, who is sure to play a long innings here.