'Paagal' arrived at the cinemas this Saturday (August 14). Let's find out what works and what doesn't for the latest rom-com.
Prem (Vishwak Sen) is an orphaned child who was told by his mother (Bhumika Chawla in a cameo) that one gets love by giving love to others. As a grown-up man, Prem keeps searching for someone who can reciprocate his love. He fails hundreds of times but it takes Theera (Nivetha Pethuraj), also an orphan, to love him back. But there is a catch. What is it? Will Prem and Theera ever unite and live happily ever after?
Going by the utter confidence that Vishwak Sen exuded before the film's release, it was believed that 'Paagal' would be his one-man show. He has a domineering screen presence in a lot of scenes; the actor outshines his co-stars with his voice as well. His performance in the first half is better than the second half. But it should have been the other way round.
Nivetha Pethuraj, as the main heroine, is okayish in the emotional scenes. Simran Choudhary and Megha Lekha are failed by the poor scenes that they are part of. Murali Sharma is fun to watch to an extent. Rahul Ramakrishna is good, while Mahesh Achanta is so-so. Bhumika Chawla doesn't make an impact.
Radhan picks the much-happening Sid Sriram for 'Aagave Nuvvagave', which eases into the film in the third act. Had 'Ee Single Chinnode' and 'Saradaga Kasepaina' been told in the context of a respectable narration, the songs would have sounded more sure-footed. The title track is enjoyable. S Manikandan's cinematography is able. Garry BH's editing is effective.
Writer-director Naressh Kuppili has told a story that is obsessed with Prem's immature concept of love. The scenes in the first 30 minutes make sense because we don't mind watching the male protagonist pull off the silly antics. After a point, however, the monotonous nature of the scenes tests your patience.
The first half, despite the wafer-thin plot, is still watchable. Even the asinine screenplay manages to keep your hopes alive to an extent. You wait for the main love story to unfold in the second half.
Once the interval happens and the film takes a plunge into the actual story, the superficial scenes turn you off. While the performances, the BGM and the songs are decent, the emotional arc of the film falters big-time.
The comedy scenes tickle in the first half to an extent. In the second half, even the comedy fails to be the saving grace.
The climax is very predictable and even if you didn't predict it, the trajectory can be seen coming by anyone who has watched love stories in the past 10 years.
'Paagal' loses the steam after the first half. The film toys with a feeble idea and stretches it more than it should.