To my knowledge, Lagaan was the first Indian movie based on sports. I remember watching a movie in Doordarshan decades back, which had Deepti Naval as a teacher, with Football in it but if I remember well, Football was not the major theme in that. Following Lagaan, there was Chennai600028 and Chak De. Lagaan is my favourite of course, but of all these three movies Chennai - 8 was the real difference. That was quite a different effort which clicked impeccably. The climax simply was too brilliant and funny too. Sure, I would agree with those who would to like to believe that Chennai -8 or Chak De would have never happened if not for Lagaan. And now there is a new director using Cricket again. What more, he even uses a former Indian cricketer, Sadagopan Ramesh, as his hero. But Cricket is not the main character here, even if the movie ends with a match.
A typical Tamil village. Two cousins are vying to marry Ranjitha, who owns almost the whole village. When there is no way out, Ranjitha agrees to marry the cousin who will win a cricket match. There is nobody in the village who has any clue about cricket. One cousin kidnaps Ramesh, who was just driving through, to coach his team. The other is helped at first by a fake coach and later by a professional.
Sincerely, there are no pretexts here. The whole aim of the movie is to provide some fun. But the film has done it in a simple and genuine way. Casting is simply brilliant. Kodaivannan, one of the cousins, who is always dressed in a bloody funny way and with his typical ordinary looks (I doubt if he will be offered such a role in any other Indian language movie) is a real master act in casting. The director picked his own assistant director, R Sivan, for the role when he could not find anybody for the role. And he was absolutely brilliant. And each and every actor, except the heroine may be, is a perfect cast who did their jobs to the best. And it is a really beautiful performance by S Ramesh. I really hope he will get more roles. He sure can act and he does have a flair for comedy too.
PP is full of hilarious moments, sometimes too simple and sometimes really too good. The movie lose its pace a little bit in the second half. And it is sure that the director didnt care much to shoot the cricket match in its glory. It is the build up to the match which was important through which he has created the fun. I just felt that if he had put in more effort and care, PP would have been a brilliant movie. Some changes here and there in the script and the movie could have been a master piece entertainer. Glad that it still was a success.
I would like to congratulate the Tamil moviegoers who make sure that such small movies get some respect in the box office. This is definitely what prompts more and more young directors to come up with different themes in Tamil.