Cast: Karthi, Tamannaah and Milind Soman
Direction: N. Lingusamy
The Tamil film, Paiyya could have been a delightful spin, a breezy romance. But N. Lingusamy, who has written and directed it, appears to have got caught in a 1970s time warp, where a hero, among other things, singlehandedly vanquished his foes. And in Paiyya, Karthi (remember his riveting performance in Paruthiveeran?) playing Shiva does not even need a simple rod to overpower and maim dozens of goons led by two "leaders". One of them is a Mumbai don, essayed by Milind Soman, and one finds it incredible that he would waste so much of his time chasing a nobody like Shiva up and down the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway. The don has innumerable henchmen with him all driving the fanciest of vehicles. The other "leader" looks like a Sumo wrestler, but he needs just a punch from Shiva to go flying in the air and land on the ground with a bone-breaking, earth-shaking thump!
While all this happening, Charulatha (Tamannaah, who is beginning to resemble a young Madhuri Dixit) gets mighty impressed with Shiva, her cab driver and co-conspirator on her mission to flee a life she does not want. In fact, much of the narrative is all about their road journey in which they discover their love for each other, each car chase and fight helping them to come closer. Lingusamy provides relief from the bloody faces and screeching cars by drenching the couple in rain (a grand opportunity for Tamannaah to slip into skimpy costumes) or letting them chase fireflies.
To think of it Paiyya could have been a marvellously pleasing drive sans the cars overflowing with ruffians. The movie could have been eminently watchable if the writer had not fixed a halo around Shiva and made him larger than any living being. Or, is this the way, Lingusamy feels, that a man can reach a woman’s heart?
Also, there are no great performances in Paiyya. Maybe, the script offered little scope for Tamannaah, who could not go beyond looking seductive or anxious or frightened. Karthi could not quite shift from the rustic roles he has portrayed till now; some of his expressions and mannerisms reminded me so much of him in Paruthiveeran/The Hero of Paruthi.
Interestingly, Tamil cinema is now getting into the mood to explore new ideas. But the form is not willing to keep pace.