Pattas Review: Martial Arts Film That’s Feel-Good but Half-Baked

The film highlights the Adimurai martial art form of Tamil Nadu.

Published15 Jan 2020, 09:13 AM IST
Movie Reviews
3 min read

Pattas

Pattas Review: Martial Arts Film That’s Feel-Good but Half-Baked

The Ip Man trilogy, very loosely based on Bruce Lee’s master, is a global phenomenon. Brilliant fight choreography, star cast and full on promotion of Chinese heritage – that’s the formula. Pattas aims to replicate this with Adimurai, a martial art form from Tamil Nadu that is considered the precursor to Kerala’s Varma Kalai, and the origin of martial arts in the world.

The intro might sound serious, but the Durai Senthilkumar directorial, which stars Dhanush and Sneha, is as masala as it can get, and is as breezy as Pattas, Dhanush’s slumdog character in the film. Is it worth your time? Read on.

The World of Pattas...

<i>Pattas </i>is a masala film through and through.
Pattas is a masala film through and through.
(Photo Courtesy: YouTube Screengrab)

...is basically the by lanes and single room condos of North Chennai. Loud, colourful and shaped constantly by the teenagers who live, love and steal in it. Dhanush, in real life is pushing the deep end of his 30s, and yet he doesn’t look a day older than 21. His wiry build is an advantage, but it’s the body language he’s cracked. And this above all else is proof of his brilliant acting.

His sidekick Puncture is one of the most convincing blokes to grace the screen. At no point does it feel like he’s acting. He’s as authentic in accent, hairdo and frame as the kitschy colours of the houses.

What completes the picture is Vivek-Mervin’s refreshing take on the gaana music subculture – a mix of techno, tabla and Tinglish lyrics – that was born in Chennai. It’s only post interval that we get to the world of Diraviyaperumal.

Adimurai and Tamil Identity

<i>Pattas </i>highlights the Adimurai form of martial arts from Tamil Nadu.
Pattas highlights the Adimurai form of martial arts from Tamil Nadu.
(Photo Courtesy: YouTube Screengrab)

Jallikattu is now passé. It’s not an issue anymore and it has already been used in Mersal (2018) to glorify the hero. Adimurai is the next big thing. At least it would have been, if only Pattas had delivered its goods.

Dhanush as the Adimurai exponent Diraviyaperumal was brilliant and genuine. But the transition from past to present, from father to son, was so rushed that the Pongal was served half-cooked.

Half-Cooked Pongal

The prolonged flashback could easily have been done away with, or relegated to an emotional yet crisp voiceover. To compensate for the overlong back story, Pattas’ character was given very little room to transform from happy hour lucky to vengeful warrior. His love interest, played by Perzada ,became an afterthought. The entire climactic tournament portion felt like a trailer, or a YouTube clip of the actual scene.

Pattas is a feel-good Pongal film with brilliant performances by Dhanush, Sneha and Munishkanth. But it had the potential to become a trilogy of martial arts films, if only the fight choreography was convincing and thought through, and the story not so lazily written.

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