‘Popcorn Monkey Tiger’ review: Soori film is a roller-coaster ride of love, lust and gore

The film, starring Dhananjaya and Niveditha in lead roles, has a reverse chronology screenplay style which works well in many places.
‘Popcorn Monkey Tiger’ review: Soori film is a roller-coaster ride of love, lust and gore
‘Popcorn Monkey Tiger’ review: Soori film is a roller-coaster ride of love, lust and gore
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Director Soori’s Duniya is a crazy universe. Once you enter, you cannot find the exit. You have to sit, crawl, bawl like a baby, and absorb the rawness, despite your likes and dislikes. It is only then that the exit gates open. When you look at the journey called life through Soori’s lens, it is always unfair; there are no happy endings. You don’t always get what you want, despite being the ‘hero’. You get what you deserve, and sometimes you don’t even get that because – such is life.

Popcorn Devi (Niveditha aka Smitha), a popcorn seller, accidentally ends up in jail and delivers a baby girl there. The inmates take good care of her and one day she finally becomes a free bird and enters the real world. With baby in one hand and a bag in another, Devi gets a dose of reality when the bag with all her money gets stolen. While sleeping at the bus stand, a man steals her baby. With no help from the police, Devi sheds her avatar and becomes a version she can no longer recognise.

Tiger Seena aka Monkey Seena (Dhananjaya), a mechanic, is forced by circumstances to pick up the machete. The love of his life, Sumi aka Sumitra (Amrutha Iyengar), leaves him for a well-settled man. Lost in love and life, Seena is forced to go with the flow. His sister (Sparsha Rekha) and her husband, a budding politician, want Seena to press the restart button in his life. But a personal tragedy pushes him to the edge. When ‘married’ Seena meets monster Devi, the roller-coaster ride gets an interesting twist as it is automatically filled with love, lust, emotions and, of course, guns. Men and women cannot exist together, utters the newly-wed Seena. Why? You have to find that out on the silver screen.

Dhananjaya, who has graduated from Daali to Seena, is the man of the hour. The movie focuses on his life and how four women try to get him on and off the track alternately. The actor has soaked himself in blood and the character to deliver a splendid performance. He is a natural actor and like water that takes the shape of the container, he has moulded himself to fit every scene. A heartbroken Seena equally impresses you as much as the machete-wielding Seena. In a larger sense though, the movie isn’t about Seena at all. It’s about how four women shape a man’s life. The first one is his girlfriend Sumi. Then comes his wife Girija (Sapthami Gowda), who nags and makes his life hell. To escape from all this, he tries to find solace in Devi. But when Devi becomes Durgi, his life is again thrown out of control.

Of all the characters, major and the blink-and-miss ones, it is Devi who stays with you even after walking out of the theatre. She is no innocent, but you find yourself wanting to console her. She is angry at the world, but she is also in distress. When an irked Seena teases her for shedding the saree and getting into a ‘cleavage showing’ dress, she gives it back saying men need to look into a woman’s eyes to find the fire.

Soori takes the movie forward in a kind of reverse chronology screenplay style and it works well in many places. But again, there are exceptions. In several places, it looks overdone. It seems as though Soori has taken a slice out of people’s life to write some of the dialogues and scenes, especially the conversation between Seena’s wife and his girlfriend. There is no right and wrong, it is all perceptions fuelled by love and lust. This is what Soori has tried to convey. The narration is very similar to Tagaru, and this may disappoint Soori’s fans. Here too he gives us many quirky characters – Mooga, Galeeju, Sugar, Kushka – to name a few! Mooga aka Don Mooganna (Gotham) is a treat to watch. Also, there is a wonderful surprise for those who were disappointed with the shelving of Kage Bangara, the second part of Kendasampige.

Going hand-in-hand with the brilliant cinematography by Shekar is Charan Raj’s fast beat background music. The duo have ensured that there isn’t a single dull moment for the 2.5 hours. The first half has no songs and the second half has a lot of bits and pieces from the hit song Maadeva and a few psychedelic bits.

Popcorn Monkey Tiger is raw, rugged and realistic, and a must-watch for mass movie lovers.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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