Saani Kaayidham Tamil Movie
One of the films I dearly missed watching in theatres last year was director Arun Madheswaran's "Rocky". Though it turned out to have mixed reviews, one thing that stood out was the craft of the director. Rocky's trailer was the most brilliantly cut in recent times. It was equally violent and artsy. There was a certain rhythm to it. So, when Arun Madheswaran announced his second venture, "Saani Kaayitham" with Keerthy Suresh and Selvaraghavan, I was thrilled. Unsurprisingly, the director has continued his violent and gory spree in this one too.
It is a wafer-thin revenge drama! Ponni (Keerthy Suresh) is raped and her family is set ablaze by some of the locals belonging to a superior caste. She goes on a bloody revenge spree along with her stepbrother, Sangaiah (Selvaraghavan). The director manages to grip us with this lean storyline for 137 minutes aided by technicalities and of course blood and gore!
We've seen Quentin Tarantino and his Kill Bill in the past! He has cracked the art of infusing violence with some poetry! By poetry, I mean that there is a method to the madness! I could sense a similarity in the making of "Saani Kaayitham". In a scene where the final nail in the coffin is hit by pouring acid into the male organ, the song that played in the background was "Malarnthum Malaraatha" from "Pasamalar".
Towards the climax, where another gory revenge episode is about to unfold, we get to visualize "Kalaiarasi" - the first film in Tamil that spoke of UFOs and aliens. My 2 cents of decoding for this scene would be a parallel of the alien from the movie with Ponni who has transformed into a revenge-seeking monster. Also, the patriarchal and feudal mindset of the antagonists has been captured well in various instances.
The movie has been divided into various episodes. Each episode had a title with a font style resembling a handwritten note. Among the violent episodes, the one that stuck with me was the 'Matador murders' - where Ponni literally mows people with the van and also gets a punchline before she pulls the trigger on one of the men at a point-blank range! I felt this sort of a setup until sometime back used to be a male bastion.
Performance from both Keerthy Suresh and Selva was top-notch. Keerthy's lean outlook blended well with her character that ought to look under-nourished. Selva's character was fabulously etched. They both have a bitter past. They share a common bloodline. They are united because of the injustice that is thrust upon them due to their caste. The supporting characters were also well-chosen. Lizy Antony, Murugadoss, Kanna Ravi, and Vijay Murugan were the few familiar faces. The rest of the cast was also raw and added to the film's tonality.
Cinematography and music were other high points of the movie. A special mention to cinematographer Yamini Yagnamurthy for establishing the landscape which by itself adds to the rustic charm of the movie. The black and white portions extract the emotional depth, while the violent episodes paint the screen in shades of red. A warm hug to Sam CS for holding up in a film without songs. With his background score, he has weaved magic. Especially the one that plays out towards the climax was soulful.
So, this movie is strictly restricted to people who can tolerate violence and cuss words on the screen. The visuals were so disturbing that one could become numb after a certain point. I thought that was the weakness of the director. He gets so obsessed with violence at times that certain scenes become less effective. At certain junctures, it goes into the 'torture porn' territory. Yes, we get the point that we are watching the movie from the perspective of the victim, but still, we couldn't wither certain reservations.
It's a violent and disturbing revenge drama that was artfully and poetically presented by director Arun Madheswaran. Well done sir! "Saani Kaayitham" is a direct-to-OTT release that streams on Amazon Prime!