Cast: Vijay Yesudas, Bharathiraja, Amrutha, Akhil
Padai Veeran from debutant Dhana, who had his tutelage under Mani Ratnam, is set in Theni backdrop and is yet another film on caste issues and the dirty politics behind it, but dealt slightly in a different way.
Muneeshwaran (Vijay Yesudas) is a wastrel who spends all his time with his useless friends (including Nitish) roaming around in the village, boozing and gobbling non-veg food. He has no aim in life until one day while taking an old lady to the police station for some petty case, he realizes that people have high regard for cops as well as they earn easy money and get free liquor. Hence, he wants to join police department although he lacks the necessary skills required of a cop.
His uncle Krishnan (Bharathiraja), retired army personnel helps him to get an entry into the police force by bribing the higher officials. He finds it tough at the training camp and even runs away halfway through to his native once. However, he promises his sweetheart (Amrutha) in the village that he will complete the training and marry her. A caste war breaks out in his village and much to his surprise Muneesh is posted there to control the riot. He comes to know that his own relatives have inhumanly killed a young girl in the name of honor killing. Now, it’s time for Muneesh to take the right call.
Vijay Yesudas has given a stellar performance and kudos to Dhana for choosing him for the titular role. He pulls off the multiple shades of his character effortlessly. The film clearly belongs to him. Bharathiraja looks every inch the ex-serviceman and has delivered a knock-out feat. And when he speaks the fiery dialogues against casteism, he seems real and hence not preachy. Amritha looks good and shines in the given role. Kavitha Bharathy gets a meaty role after Aruvi and he has utilized it well. Akhil in a brief role is okay. The problem with the film is that after a point, it becomes predictable. The long drawn-out festival sequences also mar the pace. Rerecording by Karthik Raja is good, while songs passes muster. Ratnavel Mohan’s camerawork is noteworthy.