There is also a religious connotation to this film as the Hindu God Murugan is believed to have had a tiger as his mount; hence the title of the film as 'Pulimurugan.' Talking of religion there is also a portrayal of Muslims as a set of bad guys which can be found in some other Indian films as well both in regional cinema as well as Bollywood.
Villainy is indeed not far from the surface as there are two sets of baddies battling it out among themselves as well as eventually with Mohanlal who vanquishes one group only to have to battle the remaining one. To go into the details of that conflict would take away from viewing pleasure.
Suffice it to say that the original bad guys intrude into the idyllic village setting with a view towards manufacturing a drug they say is for cancer treatment but in fact seems to be some sort of addictive substance.
The police find out about this and offer an amnesty to Mohanlal and his younger brother in return for divulging the location of the lab that makes this substance. Thereby the police redeem themselves somewhat as being potential rapists of Mohanlal's wife; an endeavor in which they were earlier frustrated by Mohanlal.
Mohanlal's younger brother is caught in the act of sending a mobile video to the police revealing the location of the lab by the bad guys and gets a sound thrashing. Fortunately, Mohanlal arrives on the scene and rescues him. In the midst of this drama the head of this particular set of bad guys' Daddy Girija' arrives on the scene only to witness his son getting killed supposedly by Mohanlal.
Thus revenge becomes a personal issue for him. However, at that time the police conveniently arrive on the scene but 'Daddy Girija' is fortunate in getting whisked away by another of his accomplices. That however is not the end of the story as 'Daddy Girija' proceeds into the forest and kidnaps Mohanlal's uncle, enacted by Lal, another versatile actor of Mollywood.
In a gripping finale Mohanlal, Lal and 'Daddy Girija' end up in a tiger's den and in the ensuing struggle 'Daddy Girija' is devoured by the man-eating beast which in turn gets killed by Mohanlal.
'Pulimurugan' is thus a gripping film displaying many human traits in action such as love, jealousy, hate, compassion and competitiveness as well as struggle for survival. It has some excellent cinematography which however at times can look contrived. This film is also notable for the debut of Tollywood actor Jagapathi Babu into Mollywood as well as a memorable performance by the actress Kamalinee Mukherjee.
Above all the film highlights the pitfalls of government initiatives such as 'Project Tiger' aimed at increasing numbers of tigers which are both magnificent but also deadly.
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