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Pon Manickavel movie review: This Prabhu Deva-starrer cop drama is a hotchpotch of predictable sequences

With lack of intriguing characters and gripping sub-plots, this murder mystery ends up becoming old wine in a new bottle 

Thinkal Menon
Nov 19, 2021
cover image

A still from the film

Story: A High Court Judge gets brutally assassinated at his home which leads to an unrest in the city. The police department ropes in a brilliant cop to handle the case. However, two more influential people get murdered as the investigation progresses. Later, the department gets to know that the life of a fourth person is also in danger. Will they be able to nab the unknown culprit?     

Review: AC Mugil Chellappan's Pon Manickavel establishes the story from the word go without wasting any time. But little do us viewers know that there isn't much to be happy about. The film is a hotchpotch of several cop dramas we have seen in Kollywood over the years. The only difference is the protagonist as this is the first time he dons a cop's uniform. 

By now, you must be able to guess what the cop is after and what his course of investigation would be. But will there be respite from cliché and unpredictable scenes?

A High Court Judge is killed at his home. He has been shot multiple times and his head is missing from the spot. The manner in which an influential person has been brutally murdered sent shock waves across the police department. 

After several discussions on who should take up the sensational case, someone suggests Pon Manickavel (Prabhu Deva), a brilliant and focused officer who quit the profession a while ago for a reason which no one is aware of. He is asked to join the duty soon and starts investigating the case by questioning the suspects one by one. 

When the department has pinned high hopes on Manickavel, two more people get killed, making things worse for them. Meanwhile, he befriends Arjun K Maran (Suresh Menon), someone who is in the hitlist of the killer, asks money from him and promises to protect him in return. But he gets attacked twice, albeit he escaped unhurt.

The CCTV footage of a suspicious old man which cops obtain leads to some twists and turns about an officer in the department. With this, they hope to nab the criminal and save Badrinath (Sudhanshu Pandey), the fourth person in the killer's list. Can Manickavel save Badrinath's life?   

A still from the movie

Perhaps the only prime positive aspect of this whodunit is how Prabhu Deva has effortlessly pulled off his role as a cop. This is for the first time that the veteran actor-choreographer-filmmaker essays a police officer and he looks tailor-made for the role, thanks to his convincing body language and subtle expressions. 

The background score by Imman is effective while cinematography by KG Venkatesh is apt for the sequences. What makes the film unengaging after a point is the screenplay which falters because of the lack of gripping characters and performances. Prabhakar as Manickavel's subordinate and Suresh Menon as his friend have good screen space, but their characterizations are unimpressive.

The female lead played by Nivetha Pethuraj comes and goes as the protagonist's wife, but we wish her role was written in a better way. The twists become predictable as the story progresses and we lose interest in the proceedings by the time the film nears its climax. 

A weak antagonist who is introduced much later and lack of intriguing confrontation between hero and villain, too, is evident, which mars the story's flow. Mahendran shines in the small role he has to play, though. The movie ends up becoming a potpourri of predictable twists and suspense-filled ineffective sequences.  

Verdict: Pon Manickavel is another routine cop thriller which offers no thrills.  

Pon Manickavel is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

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