The Prakash Kumar and Sri Divya-starrer Tamil-Telugu-bilingual movie, "Pencil," which was released in theatres around the world on May 13, has received mixed reviews and good ratings from critics.

"Pencil," which has been written by Mani Nagaraj, is a murder mystery, which is an unofficial remake of the 2009 South Korean crime thriller film titled "4th Period Mystery." Besides playing the hero, GV Prakash Kumar has also composed the music for the songs and background score of the film, while Gopi Amarnath and Anthony have handled the cinematography and editing, respectively.

The film revolves around Siva (GV Prakash Kumar), who is a brilliant class 12 student of a famous school. He is in love with his classmate Maya (Sri Divya). His classmate Nithin (Shariq Hassan), the son of a superstar, gets murdered in the classroom and Shiva and Sri Divya stumble upon his dead body. The rest of the film is about how Shiva and Sri Divya unravel the murder mystery.

Critics say "Pencil" has a good story that offers a message to society and that the director has created an engaging screenplay with lots of twists and turns. The movie begins with the murder of Nithin and the first half is all about the grey side of his character. The second half deals with the unravelling of the mystery.

"Pencil" is a very engaging and entertaining movie, but it could have been an even better watch if the director had taken care of a few forced comedy and romantic scenes. The movie features brilliant performances and rich production values, say the critics. The film has been rated an average of 2.51 out of 5 stars. Continue below to see some critics' verdicts and ratings in the "Pencil" review round-up:

The bilingual movie has been produced by SP Ragavesh under the banner Kalsan Movies Pvt. Ltd.

The Times of India Ratings: 2

Barring the cliched and unnecessary romantic portions, Mani Nagaraj does a decent job of setting up the mystery in the first half. But the second half is a great let-down. While we expect a tense thriller, what we end up with are amateurish investigative scenes and mood-killing comedy that takes away every ounce of tension in the script. Just because the setting is a school, should the scenes be this juvenile? It is also marred by the choice of the actors who play the school's faculty.

India Glitz Rating: 2.8

The writer director becomes over ambitious by trying to mix the "change the schooling system" line into the murder mystery which fails big time and dilutes the main plot. The revelation of the real murderer is also very ordinary and has absolutely no shock value which is very necessary for this genre.

123telugu Ratings: 3

Pencil is a decent murder mystery with an interesting premise and engaging screenplay. The suspense factor and second half are huge assets. If you are done watching all the important releases from last week, and are looking at something different, do check out 'Pencil' which ends up as a time pass thriller.

Behindwoods Ratings: 2.25

The film has few genuine moments that evoke laughter, school memories and serious thoughts on the education process. There are however major portions of the film where one might feel that the director has not stayed true to the premise of the story. The plot fails to build substantial suspense and fizzles out with a short and unceremonious climax.