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Actor Sivakarthikeyan’s films set off pre-release expectations just as those of the top heroes Ajith and Vijay.  In the post-pandemic period, his films Doctor and Don turned blockbusters, raising his stock among fans.  Now comes Prince, the first pre-Deepavali release.

Anudeep K.V. who has infused new blood into the comedy genre with his Telugu directorial venture Jathi Ratnalu, has joined hands with Sivakarthikeyan and comedy is his cup of tea too.  Quite naturally there were expectations among the fans that the duo would dish out an out-and-out entertaining fare. Have the expectations been met?

Pan-global love
It is a familiar cinematic template that love in India faces problems from religion, caste and language.  But Prince speaks about love that transcends international borders.

Here’s the storyline: Ulaganathan (Satyaraj) of Devankottai in Cuddalore is liberal, supporting love beyond religion and caste. As his daughter marries her aunt’s son, he expects his son will love a girl and then marry her. Flouting the usual cinematic trope of father-son face-off, the hero Anbu (Sivakarathikeyan) toes his father’s line.

Anbu, who works in a school, falls in love with English teacher Jessica (Maria Riaboshapka). As their bonds deepen, the family falls apart. Ulaganathan and people of Devankottai oppose the international relationship. Will Anbu and Jessica find happiness despite all the hurdles thrown at them? For that you will have to watch the movie.

As a romantic comedy, the film leaves much to be desired.  If it was romantic to the core, interspersed with comedy, it would come out engaging and entertaining

Prince falls between two stools. As a romantic comedy, the film leaves much to be desired.  If it was romantic to the core, interspersed with comedy, it would come out engaging and entertaining.  But romantic scenes flash only now and then along the course of what’s supposed to be a full-length comic narrative.  But humour is missing in several frames and the dialogue, situations and acting are bereft of ‘timing’.

Receding sea
Imagine you are running fast to take a plunge into a surging sea and suddenly find the sea receding, leaving you disappointed. Similar is the experience with Prince.

Sivakarthikeyan’s dance performance is lackluster as he seems to have put on weight. Heroine Maria looks more like a supporting actress. Sathyaraj who exuded attitude as a fence-sitter in Varuthapadathaa Vaalibar Singam is not at his usual best.  For Premji his role may be strange and exciting, but not for the audience.  A foreigner who plays the hero’s father leaves us squirming in our seats.

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The hero’s friends Satheesh Krishnan, Prankster Rahul and Bharat strut about in designer costumes. Who is the costume designer?

Manoj Paramahamsa’s cinematography and Praveen KL’s editing fail to provide a visual treat except in a few scenes.

The only saving grace is the background score by Thaman.

Anudeep K.V. who has proved his mettle in the Telugu film and has written and directed Prince, is clearly unable to deliver a film of star value.

Humourless humour
Prince is a comedy without comedy.  Like a horse unreined, the film’s narrative runs aimlessly. Usually a dull joke cracked in serious situations lightens things up, evoking chuckles among the viewers. But the storyline being unsubstantive, even such jokes do not make up the comic quotient of the film.

Manoj Paramahamsa’s cinematography and Praveen KL’s editing have not rendered the film a visual treat except in a few scenes.  The only saving grace is the background score by Thaman  

Yet there are certain exceptions.  For instance, the scene showing Inspector Anandaraj inquiring with Sivakarthikeyan and his four friends is hilarious, to some extent. Even as the cop keeps circling the group, uttering lines, the four friends accordingly keep changing the direction of their standing position. But at the end of the scene, the four end up standing with their backs to the policeman.

Also Read: Here’s why big films release first half of the month

The scene conveying the message that humanism is far better than nationalism does not appeal to the audience immensely as it should have. For the Indian boy-British girl love affair has not been constructed deeply and meaningfully.

Sivakarthikeyan now and then dares to do some experiments such as Velaikkaran, Doctor and the forthcoming Ayalaan.  His past film Hero too belongs to that category. But his fans who have expected a bundle of pleasant surprises from Prince have been left disappointed.

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