There is nothing new in Pailwaan of Sudeep, directed by S Krishna. The film is a fairly simple, cliché and simplistic stellar vehicle that strives to mark all the boxes of a stereotyped commercial film. However, the film does not become a disaster, and that credit goes to Sudeep and its attractive fighting sequences.
Director S Krishna has good ideas for making commercial films larger than life. For example, his previous film Hebbuli, starring Sudeep in the lead role, revolved around a highly trained commando on a path of revenge. A soldier, whose specialty is to perform surgical attacks in the enemy’s territory, faces untrained and low-life urban criminals. The premise provided the director with sufficient opportunities to present a non-stop action movie that could keep the public on the edge of his seat. But, S Krishna ruined it. He turned it into a hero worship movie, where he couldn’t even make Sudeep move like a command that performs undercover operations.
I’m afraid he repeated the mistake with his latest movie Pailwaan, starring Sudeep in the lead role. What happens when you put a hardcore fighter in a boxing ring? In the real world, without proper training, the fighter could be taken out of the ring on a stretcher. But, in S Krishna’s movie, of course, the same fighter would make professional boxers look like a lot of fans.
Pailwaan movie cast: Sudeep, Suniel Shetty, Aakanksha Singh.
Pailwaan movie director: S Krishna
Pailwaan movie rating: 2 stars
The film follows the story of Krishna, an orphan, who fights in the streets to bet on feeding the hungry children. The size of young Krishna’s heart impresses Sarkar (Suniel Shetty), a champion fighter, so much that he adopts him. And he imparts his wrestling knowledge to Krishna, who grows up to become a very formidable champion in the sport. We meet the adult Krishna (of course, after a sufficient accumulation) working with maces and weights made of stones, like an ancient Hindu warrior. And then, in slow motion, he walks towards the arena, where he is about to fight with an opponent who seems much bigger than him. When the contest begins, Kirshna decimates his rival and we immediately get into the main song, Baaro Pailwaan.
S Krishna seems to have written this film before demonetization and the #MeToo movement since his writing has not been affected by two of these historical events. The role of the heroine, played by Aakanksha Singh, is misspelled. The character is reduced to the sweet arm of the hero who does not deserve to be the only one. In addition, the way the hero perceives heroin is also very regressive.
The song is choreographed by Ganesh Acharya with the sole intention of giving Sudeep ample opportunity to flex his newly constructed muscles. And Sudeep embraces the movements of showing his biceps with the enthusiasm of a teenager who achieved his first milestone in fitness. There is nothing wrong with that. As the saying goes, if you have it, presume. But, not just the song, the whole 3-hour movie feels like an opportunity for Sudeep not to flex anything but the muscles.
Pailwaan is located in the northern districts of Karnataka, where surprisingly, the demonetized 500 rupee bills remain a valuable currency. That is probably intended to establish that the techniques of writing and making films in this film are as obsolete as the forbidden ticket. The director S Krishna gives a mythological background to his protagonist by portraying him as the reincarnation of Krishna, who was born to end the evils of modern times. First, defeat an evil megalomaniac fighter, descendant of an old royal family with the illusion of greatness. Another evil is the successful but arrogant boxer Tony (Kabir Duhan Singh). Since the evil karma of these evils has exceeded its limits, it is now Krishna’s duty to defeat evil and regain balance in society. While doing so, he must also endure Agnathavasa, a period in Mahabharata during which the Pandavas were forced to live hiding their true identity in exile.
Krishna almost immediately begins to deter Rukmini (Aakanksha) when he thinks she has a habit of drinking and smoking. He becomes too critical and states that a woman who does it is not culturally and traditionally appropriate. But, when he learns that everything was a misunderstanding and that she does not drink or smoke, he begins to imagine her again. Don’t you think it’s time for conventional filmmakers to stop gender stereotypes?
Sudeep does a lot for the script that the clichés-filled script does for him. In one scene, he drowns tears because he cannot respond to a girl’s difficult situation. The scene is an example of Sudeep’s ability to deliver realistic performance. All that is needed is a filmmaker who can write strong scenes that can take the actor out of Sudeep. Unfortunately, Pailwaan is not that movie.
The fight sequences are the saving grace of the film. They are well choreographed, and Sudeep with his chiseled body really convinces you that he can carry out those exaggerated action sequences with ease.
Director S Krishna has spent so much time going around that it seems too late to keep our attention when he finally puts Krishna in the boxing ring. I thought boxing would be the main course of this movie. But it turns out it’s just a dessert at the end of the meal. And neither of the delicious type. Boxing sequences are poorly researched and organized uncomfortably.
Comedian Appanna and Arjun Janya’s songs don’t help either. Sudeep goes out of its way to sell this boring story, but absolute predictability and lack of spark make your efforts useless. The final product is just a drama of bearable and mediocre action.