The city of Chennai is rife with the nefarious activities of land mafia. There are two rival gangs; one under Ali Bhai (Prakash Raj), who resides in Dubai and controls his India operations through his brothers Guru (Vincent Asokan) and Logu (Subbaraju) as well as his girlfriend Mona (Brinda Parekh); and another operated by a local goon Narasimhan (Anandaraj). They threaten builders and land owners into giving them protection money or property, through force, extortion or murder. Mohammed Maideen Khan (Napoleon) takes charge as the new Commissioner of Chennai and starts cracking down on crime.
Tamizh (Vijay), a thug, is abducted by Logu and his henchmen. Tamizh has taken a contract from Narasimhan to beat up Logu, which he does. However, Guru and Mona invite Tamizh to join their gang. Tamizh declines stating that he does not work for any gang, but is ready to do anything given enough money. Meanwhile, Tamizh falls in love with Shruthi (Asin), when he visits his friend Saravanan's (Sreeman) aerobics class, but she mistakes him for a thug. Shruthi, a college student, lives with her widowed mother Lakshmi (Sriranjani) and younger brother Pappu (Master Bharath). Body Soda (Vadivelu), a bogus kung fu master, lives above Shruthi's house and frequently, albeit comically and unsuccessfully, tries to convince Shruthi to marry him. Inspector Govindan (Mukesh Tiwari) is a corrupt police inspector in the colony where Tamizh and Shruthi live and is on the payroll of Ali Bhai. He lusts for Shruthi and decides to make her his mistress, even after she rejects him multiple times.
Tamizh's first assignment with Ali Bhai's gang is to kill a member of Narasimhan's gang. However, police show up at the spot where Tamizh and the other gangsters are waiting. Tamizh engages the cops long enough for the others to finish the task and flee. He also helps Shruthi escape from Govindan. She is impressed by his kindness and a friendship soon blossoms between the two, leading to the development of unspoken romantic feelings for each other. When Shruthi tries to express her feelings to Tamizh, they are attacked by members of Narasimhan's gang, whom Tamizh finishes off. Shruthi is shocked to learn that Tamizh is a gangster with no qualms about killing people.
Later, Govindan arranges for some thugs to pretend to rape Shruthi, so that no decent family will want to take her as their daughter-in-law, as a result of which with no other option Shruthi and Lakshmi will accept his demands. Tamizh learns of this and thrashes Govindan incognito. After much ado and mental anguish, Shruthi accepts Tamizh's love.
Soon, Guru is found dead, presumably killed by Narasimhan in retaliation against the death of his gang members at the hands of Tamizh earlier, which forces Ali Bhai to come to Chennai and kill Narasimhan. He also meets Tamizh to discuss the killing of a minister by blowing up a school. Tamizh disagrees with Ali Bhai's method as it would involve killing innocents including women and children. In the middle of their argument, the police raid the club and arrest Ali Bhai. His gang members retaliate by kidnapping the police commissioner's daughter, drugging her and creating a lewd video of her which they threaten to release to the media if Ali Bhai is not released, forcing the embattled commissioner to release Ali Bhai. In her drugged state, the commissioner's daughter also reveals that her father had placed a mole in Ali Bhai's gang. The gang members find out that a police officer by the name of Satyamoorthy, the son of a retired police inspector Shanmugavel (Nassar), has gone undercover to finish off the underworld mafia gangs and is now a part of their gang. Ali Bhai kills Satyamoorthy in front of Shanmugavel. However, it is revealed that the person who died was actually Saravanan, who was Shanmugavel's adopted son. Ali Bhai then kills Shanmugavel, hoping that the real Satyamoorthy would come to see his father's body and avenge his death. When the real Satyamoorthy actually turns up, everyone, especially Shruthi and Govindan, are shocked to see that he is none other than Tamizh.
After the funerals of Shanmugavel and Saravanan, Satyamoorthy forces Govindan to call Ali Bhai to find out his location, which is Binny Mills. He goes there and starts to dispatch Ali Bhai's men one by one, rescuing the commissioner's daughter in the process. In a final confrontation, Satyamoorthy kills Ali Bhai by slitting his throat, following which he also kills Govindan.Screenplay and Direction: Prabhu DevaProducer: Singanamala RameshDialogues: V. PrabhakarStory: Puri JagannadhMusic: Mani SharmaCinematography: Nirav ShahEditing: Kola BhaskarArt: K. KadhirExecutive Producer: Sanjay Singh ActorLyrics: Pa. Vijay, Na. Muthukumar, Snehan, KabilanAction: FEFSI VijayanChoreography: Raju Sundaram, Dinesh, Ashok Raja, Sridhar, Vishnu DevaCo-Director: M. Krishnamurthy, A. C. MuhilAssociate Director: B. R. Chandru, K. R. Prabhu, G. JayakannanAssistant Director: G. Kalaimamani, K. C. PerumalAudiography: A. S. Laxmi NarayanSound Effects: C. SethuVisual Effects: EFXCostumes: Nalini Sriram, Chetan), Anu ParthasarathyMake-up: Nagaraj
After his film Aadhi in January 2006, for nearly six months Vijay was listening to stories but none appealed he was supposed to do a Tamil version of Dharani's Bangaram, until that film's failure made him look at other options. That's when he got to watch the Telugu Pokiri he felt that it would work. After difficulty in finding directors, Prabhudeva was selected as director directing his first film in Tamil after the failure of his Telugu film Pournami. The movie was launched on 6 July 2006, Vijay's father SAC conducted special puja at the Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple in Tiruvannamalai. On Saturday night, which was the full moon day, which is an auspicious occasion for the presiding deity there, he spent a full hour before the Lord seeking his blessings. He also prayed at the Sacred Church at Velankanni. Asin was selected pairing with Vijay for second time after Sivakasi.
The first day of shoot for the film was held at the new Pillayar Kovil at AVM studios, with various dignitaries gracing the occasion. Vijay's mother Shobha Chandrasekhar gave the clap for the first shot. The first scene shot was with Asin and Vijay, the lead pair in the film, in an elevator that was specially designed for the film.
The soundtrack has 8 songs composed by Mani Sharma. Two of the songs from the original Telugu version were retained, and remade in Tamil.
The satellite rights of the film were sold to Sun TV. The film was given a "U/A" certificate by the Indian Censor Board and released on 2007 at the festival of Pongal, alongside Ajith's Aalwar and Vishal's Thaamirabharani. The film collected ₹ 61 million in Tamil Nadu in its first weekend from 142 screens.
Pokkiri opened to positive Reviews.Sify said that the film was "enjoyable while it lasts". Indiaglitz stated that Vijay stole the show with his "typical 'Vijayisms' (action, humor and punch dialogues)" and that the show was "action-packed entertainer". Behindwoods review felt that Vadivelu and Prakash Raj’s performances were lackluster, and stated that Raj " might do well to sit back and analyze the roles that he accepts," but concluded that the movie overall "packs a punch." Rediff.com gave the movie two stars, stating "there's nothing more tedious than a badly made remake." Nowrunning.com stated that "Pokkiri' is attractively packaged and presented". Oneindia.in stated that "Pokkiri is a full length action movie of Vijay."
The film was commercial success and ran over 100 days in Tamil Nadu, and 50 days in Kerala.
The original Telugu film Pokiri, directed by Puri Jagannadh, was remade in several other languages and still found success in the respective regional cinemas. Pokkiri is the first remake. The second one was Wanted, the Hindi version in 2009. Both Pokkiri and Wanted were directed by Prabhu Deva. Prakash Raj reprises his role as the villain in both the remakes. After that, a Kannada version, Porki, directed by M. D. Sridhar, was released on 14 January 2010. Below is an actor map of the lead actors in the story of Pokiri and its remakes.
A dialogue spoken by Vadivelu in the film, "Vada Poche" became very popular. The dialogue inspired a comedy show in Sun Music with same name. The dialogue also inspired a song sung by Velmurugan and Powerstar Srinivasan in Arya Surya (2013). In Netru Indru Naalai (2008), Karunas imitates Vijay's introduction scene from the film. In Ya Ya (2013), Powerstar Srinivasan shows the videos of him imitating the scenes and dialogues of actors to Shiva, one of the portions shows him imitaing Vijay's performance from the film.