Srikanth after his supporting role in Nanban, returns as solo hero in Paagan directed by Aslam, who is from Ameer’s school of film making.
Paagan has nothing to do with elephant mahout but the director views the term as a rider who could ride anything and in Paagan it happens to be a bicycle. Aslam’s debut film talks about the relationship of a young man with his cycle and the significant role the two-wheeler plays in his life.
Srikanth as the protagonist wants to make it big in life and is always flanked by his buddies Suri and Pandi who help him in this financial pursuit.
The film travels on a monotonous slow course and never makes you invest enough emotions in it or the characters in it. The premise is relentlessly old fashioned and is definitely not in sync with times.
The biggest drawback of Paagan is its mis-casting of the protagonist as Srikanth’s urban and debonair looks stand out in his characterization of the rural Subramani, a school drop-out. This works against the film big time. To add to the woes, the colorful shirts he wears attract attention for the wrong reasons and belie his background. Nevertheless, Srikanth is sincere in his performance, giving his best to the story. But sadly his dialogue delivery also cries of urban diction.
Janani Iyer looks better in Paagan and gets to wear designer clothes and gallivants in coiffured hairstyles. The plus is that it is good to hear her speak her lines which give a nice tone to her character. Pandy and Soori have been designated to make the audience laugh but most of their humor fall flat and sound very archaic. Of course there are some occasional chuckle-worthy moments like the climax one and the scene where Srikanth tires Pandy and Soori reading out lines from Janani’s diary.
Kovai Sarala is as usual her loud self and A Venkatesh’s appearance is like a cameo.
Pace is a casualty in Paagan and the film moves on a very slow path. When many film makers are experimenting with form and content, Aslam appears to have been caught in a time warp with his cycle bomb. The voice of the cycle also sounds quite out of times. There is no serious conflict in the film and the knots (not that there are any) keep getting untangled without any serious event.
On the technical front, cinematography by Lakshman is functional and the music of James Vasanthan is melodious and is light on the ears.
To sum it all, Paagan does not have much going in its favor and turns out a bland fare.