Making a few changes in the line and treatment of the original of the same name for it to be suitable to the modern milieu, young director Sneha Britto tries to re-create the magic in the second Sattam Oru Iruttarai (U/A. ) The earlier film turned out to be a milestone in the careers of director S.A. Chandrasekaran and actor Vijayakanth because of the freshness in the plot and the unique thought process woven into the story. But later films from SAC himself and from other makers of the era followed and over the years the theme has been beaten to pulp. The theory that the law in our country is obsolete and can be interpreted to help criminals is a valid point SAC made decades ago.
The pleasing personality of Thaman Kumar, who looks more like a honed version of Dhanush, is a draw. The lacuna lies in his footwork, which isn’t exactly laudable. That he bears the burden of a part played very successfully by Vijayakanth, and by Rajnikanth in the Hindi version (Andha Kanoon), is by itself a big challenge.
A solid role for Reemma Sen, and but for her erroneous lip movement in the mouthing of dialogue (strange that she hasn’t perfected it even after working in so many films in Tamil!) her performance wins notice. After Ko, it’s another noteworthy part for Piaa — hope our makers don’t decide that she’s only cut out for tragic cameos! In Bindhumalini’s case, after a subdued but powerful role in Kazhugu, it’s a glam show all the way in SOI — the actor sure has the looks and figure to pull it off.
Vijay Antony isn’t quite in form in SOI. The last song (‘Soin …’) and the jig thrust in the midst of crucial happenings are patience testers that grate on the ear. However the soothing montage numbers make a difference. C.J. Rajkumar’s cinematography is a plus in these sequences.
The new film begins with the disadvantage of a three-decade old story that has been made and re-made in many languages. Britto’s re-creation holds your interest only to a certain extent. Protracted flashbacks, songs that interrupt the flow and loosen the grip on the viewer, and dated sets affect the narration. The length of the college culturals shown as a flashback, for example, tires you. And the friends’ attempt at comedy is pathetic.
The villains are mere caricatures in SOI. Thirty years ago it was accepted for its novelty. Here, they look ridiculous. Suresh’s theatrics from the opening scene when he walks out of the house where he has murdered the inmates and pauses outside to look so ominously and obviously at the gun in his hand, to his walking out into the traffic to get killed by speeding vehicles is a case in point. He could have easily perched himself on one side of the road — you see many avenues of escape en route! Silly, is all you can say.
Revenge as a genre in cinema has come to stay ever since the 1970s. Many directors play around it as the winning rate of the subject is high. But a fresh attempt of the same story in the same language, particularly in these days of information explosion when you can get to see the original at the click of a mouse or remote is redundant.
Sneha Britto’s potential will come to the fore only when she works on a subject that’s her own. As far as SOI goes it’s a case of old wine in a bottle that isn’t all that new.
Sattam Oru Iruttarai
Director: Sneha Britto
Cast: Thaman Kumar, Reemma Sen, Piaa, Bindumalini
Storyline: The girl he’s ardently in love with is killed by the villains, and the hero isn’t going to let them go unpunished.
Bottomline: The room could have been illuminated better.