Purampokku Movie Review

Review Overview

Screenplay & Direction
Technical Aspects & BGM

A neatly mounted prison docudrama!

Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai is a neatly mounted prison docudrama which packs a good representation of facts and real events. Watch it for the flawless detailing in the way prison is comported, structured and maintained.

Cast: Arya, Vijay Sethupahi, Shaam, Karthika Nair and others

Cinematography: Ekambaram

Music: Varshan

Editing: Ganesh Kumar

Stunts: Miracle Michael

PRO: Suresh Chandra

Written & Directed by: SP Jhananathan

Produced by: UTV Motion Pictures & Binary Pictures

Release Date: 15-05-2015

Run Time: 02:40:00

SP Jananathan is known for his original story-telling. His films have often portrayed anti-bourgeois, communist ideologies through his characters and their lines. His love for insurgents can be felt in his stories. However, he has successfully managed to tread the ‘preaching’ line more often than not. A lot of dialogues in his last film Peraanmai was celebrated by rooted audiences but panned and ridiculed by the well-read populace. His latest film Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai is a neatly mounted prison docudrama which packs a good representation of facts and real events but utterly let down by the over indulgence of the same.

Balusamy (Arya) is a staunch communist facing death penalty for his suicide bombing attempt on Indian army near the border. According to the government, he is a deadly terrorist and Macaulay (Shaam plays a cop role) is in-charge of fulfilling the death sentence. When the judge orders that only an experienced hang-man should perform the duty, we are introduced to Yamalingam (Vijay Sethupathi), an erstwhile hangman and presently a railway khalasi. Yamalingam is haunted by an innocent death-penalty convict who he hanged long back and pleads to Macaulay to hand over the job to someone else and leave him. However, things take a different turn when Kuyili (Karthika Nair), one of the insurgents in Balusamy’s revolutionary group, devises an escape plan for Balusamy from the jail with the help of Yamalingam. Will Balusamy escape the death sentence or/and the prison? This forms the rest of the story.

SP Jananathan has stunningly documented the procedures, protocols and happenings inside the prison in the first half. The first few minutes look really promising but from then on-wards it starts drifting. We repeatedly get how jail inmates should be treated according to the jail manual. A lot of random facts that have no particular relevance to the story-line are thrown at us. There are two absolutely cringe-worthy song placements that could have been easily avoided in an earnest attempt like this. The sluggish pace of the film is another real worry and tests the patience.

The real facts like – a convict should not be handcuffed during travel, medical building should be next to the old age group inside the prison, an inmate can earn nearly Rs. 3 lakhs of money in cash for his work inside the prison during his 12-year old sentence time – are never seen before in Tamil films and they deserve mention though superfluous.

All the leads have delivered a good performance. Music director Varshan looks like a good talent and Srikanth Deva shows a lot of promise with the background score. NK Ekambaram has showcased the prison set well and captured the atmosphere spot-on with the help of Selvakumar’s commendable art direction. Brownie points for SP Jananthan for staying true to the premise with authenticity and sincerity but I wish it was a little engaging.

Purampokku could have been a consummate work had SP Jananthan made a full length documentary on prison. Instead, it masquerades as a feature film and suffers from sloppy contrivances. Watch it for the flawless detailing in the way prison is comported, structured and maintained.

Purampokku Movie Review Rating: 2.75/5

Written by Surendhar MK