Puli: Blue eyes, castle... what's wrong with our fantasy genre?

  • Nivedita Mishra, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 25, 2015 14:05 IST

It's funny how commercial movie makers take liberties with facts. One look at the new teaser of the Tamil film, Puli (Tiger), starring superstar Vijay Ilayathalapathy, and I can't help but think: what is Indian in the look and feel of this clip?

Before you pin me against the wall, accusing me of bias, hear me out! I am not against cinematic license. After all, if a creative mind won't imagine, who will? But must it be so removed from the reality in which the story is set that it begins to look illogical? A good talent will always want to strike a balance between the two.

Let's do a quick recap of other Tamil fantasy films. Images of Rajinikanth-starrer Kochadaiyaan crop up -- iron vests and knee-length boots rub shoulders with dhoti-clad Tandav-pose striking Rajinikanth. Passable, perhaps.


Moments from Rajinikanth-starrer Kochadaiyaan. Puli director Chimbu Deven, known for making fantasy films in Tamil, has, in the past, made films like the cowboy-themed Irumbukottsi Murattu Singam (Imagine, Tamil-speaking Red Indians! Thank god, it's a comedy.).


Red Indians and cow boys from Irumbukottsi Murattu Singam.

Now, let's take a closer look at Puli teaser to figure out what exactly we are hinting at.

Clothes that are hardly Indian


Actor Sridevi as a gown-clad Indian queen from Puli.

Puli is a Tamil action-adventure fantasy film. We know that but I am surprised as I see men in pajamas, shirts, shields and even a cloak! The gear of the queen hardly looks Indian -- the dress is a western-style gown and a crown that looks closer to medieval Europe than India.

If you Google and see what ancient India might have looked like -- images from Amar Chitra Katha, stone figurines and sculptures from Cholas, Pandyas and Eastern Ganga dynasties, for example -- crop up. One would think ancient Indians wore more unstitched clothes (drapes like dhotis and Anga Vastra). Which Indian queen, even up north in ancient Kashmir wore gowns? Horse carriage


Shot of horse carriage from Puli.

A horse-pulled western-style wooden carriage in India seems like an anachronism. One can understand Indian-style horse drawn 'rath' or chariot, but this? Castle trouble


This certainly doesn't look like an Indian fort.

For the love of the good Lord above, what is a castle doing in India? Will one ever see a Persian-style Char Bagh palace complex in a Hollywood film passing of as a western fantasy? Aqua marine blue eyes


(Clockwise) Sudeep, Vijay and Hansika Motwani sport blue eyes in Puli.

What is it with Vijay, Sudeep and Hansika Motwani all sporting blue eyes? Simply difficult to take such stuff seriously.

Frankly speaking, I am quite disappointed seeing the Puli teaser. If first looks are anything to go by, this looks like a commercial potboiler. South cinema is abuzz with some interesting ideas -- two films, in particular, have piqued public interest, SS Rajamouli's Baahubali is inspired by tales from the Mahabharata while Anushka Shetty starrer Rudhramadevi takes a slice from the life of a 13th-century queen of Kakatiya dynasty from the Deccan Plateau in India.

These two films have also taken some minor liberties but for most parts they seem okay. Sadly, that is not the sentiment with Puli.

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