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A fight for justice

An upstanding forest officer tries to set things right. By Gautaman Bhaskaran

Image Credit: Supplied
e+

Penn Singam
Cast Uday Kiran, Meera Jasmine, Radha Ravi, Vivek, Rohini
Director Bali Srirangha
Rating G

Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi has a reputation for promoting social awareness through his films. However, his latest venture (story, screenplay and dialogues) with Bali Srirangham's Penn Singam (Lioness) doesn't make a strong impact. Based on Karunanidhi's literary work Surulimalai, Penn Singam looks at how an upright forest officer Surya (Kiran), fights a losing battle with timber thieves, headed by Singaperumal (Ravi). Implicated in the murder of his friend's new bride, Surya soon finds himself as a fugitive, who is forced to take his war to the streets of Chennai. Standing by his side is his girlfriend Megala (Meera Jasmine), a new Indian Police Service officer, who also takes credit for the film's title - although rather unfairly.

Much of the movie traces Surya's tryst with his own dark destiny and his fight with the forest mafia, who are encouraged and kept alive by corrupt cops. Penn Singam has other weaknesses. The film often appears jerky due to the script and direction of the movie. The performances are not up to par and come across as being amateurish. Penn Singam is disappointing and it's shocking that a National Award winner like Jasmine could have sleepwalked through her role.

The attempt to weave in issues like dowry harassment, female infanticide and the importance of education merely dilutes the plot.

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