Pani Thuli's first song-dance sequence looks like an Asian Paints advertisement. But because it comes after the hero's cringe-worthy delivery of "I love you so much, da", it doesn't feel out of place. The hero, Shiva (Ganesh Venkatraman), after being unable to save a man from being torched by his lover's father takes up the challenge of not seeing the man's daughter for a year, but all the same remaining faithful her. If he succeeds, he gets to marry his lover. Why would anyone be stupid enough to take the word of a murderer? Our hero does without thinking twice. He kisses his lover goodbye, sheds a few tears and leaves abroad for his new job.
The minute he reaches work, he makes out with another woman. Pretty unexpected and funny. He retires from work and the girl seems to be all over him. That breaks into another song dance sequence. Soon, there's a spy trailing him. This spy, as you have probably guessed, works for the very man Shiva made a deal with. Things aren't looking up for Shiva. That is, until he is teleported to an alternate reality. He's married to a woman he doesn't recognize and has no idea how his life came to this point. Here's a man with two life histories, one in his head and the other he's living in. Wouldn't finding his identity be of primary importance? Certainly more important than rediscovering his love for some random woman who claims to be his wife? When enough evidence supporting her claim is round up, he finally forces himself to find love. This search is shown with the assistance of a music number. Later, we find out that his married life is a by-product of visions conjured up by him in a state of euphoria after being intoxicated by a tribal. He wakes up and goes home hoping to find the same woman he married in his head.
For a movie so keen on exploring several alternate realities, this is completely unreal. We don't need to know which one of his alternate realities is the actual reality; we already know that the movie's nowhere close to actual reality. These are all problems in the script, which is the real guide for the filmmakers. But these filmmakers aren't good at action either. There actually exists a chase sequence where Shiva is on a skateboard skating away from the spy who runs after him shooting like a madman, while there's rap music in the background.
These actors don't embody characters; they're providing voiceovers for elevators. They don't deliver dialogue like human beings, they send out messages like programmed bots. The actresses for some reason sound like they're on a ventilator and in need of an oxygen mask. What kind of re-recording is this? Interspersing dialogue with long, timely gasps?
Natty Kumar and Dr. Jay are on their own trips. No one else is going to appreciate this messy product of several random brainwaves. Only you guys know the feeling associated with the moments of fabricating all these whimsical ideas. For the rest of us, this is tedious and pointless. We see a lot of effort, yes, but that's all we see. We don't remotely care about anything that happens here let alone follow.
When the film decides to finally give us an answer after toying with us for all this while, it says "Retrograde Amnesia." What an absolute cop-out. What a terrible way to echo Ghajini. Seriously are you actually trying to come off as innovative to those few who haven't seen the blockbuster Ghajini?
Pani Thuli aims to confuse its viewers repeatedly and hopes that we will hang in there for a super twist. The twists come, one after the other, not in the form of explanatory closures, but in the form of cons. I guess it's their way of saying "Haha! Gotcha!" That punch line would be better suited at the ticket counter, once we've bought our ticket to Pani Thuli.
Critic: Rohit Ramachandran
(1 / 5) : Poor