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IT IS Vikram, action and success in that order, these days. For an actor with potential who has been hovering in the wings for long, the wait has been worthwhile. His victory track has been laid out strong and clear (That is if you are willing to forget the fate of his few croppers that creep in now and then.) So Kavithalaya's "Saami" should follow the "Dhil", "Dhool" line. Vikram's daredevilry and macho appeal ought to go down well with the masses. His presence of mind and intelligence are bound to make an impression on those who expect something more. Striking this kind of a balance to hold the interest of all classes of viewers is not easy. Hari, who has written the story, screenplay and dialogue and also directed the film, has done just that. Also even as you begin to miss the sensitivity that actor Vikram adds to his roles, it comes out in a couple of scenes.

Aarusami (Vikram) is a fearless cop — forthright in word and upright in deed. But his approach is different from the usual, straightforward hero. He appears to toe their villain's line, but it is just an astute ploy. Trisha provides the female interest. She is Bhuvana, a Brahmin girl, who loves him and later becomes his wife. Notwithstanding the provocative movements in the duets Trisha looks dignified, though a trifle young for the hero. Another commanding essay by Vijayakumar as the father of Aarusaami. The villain is from Telugu — Kotta Srinivasa Rao. He looks menacing but proves quite gullible. For a supposedly invincible kingmaker in politics he is easily perplexed by the policeman's strategic moves and becomes a sitting duck in the climax. Here is one villain whom you end up feeling sorry for.

Loudness is not a villain's prerogative, it seems — Aarusaami, the hero, is so loud at times that you wish that the character had some subtle shades. The same can be said of the purohit Venkatram (Vivek). Projecting a particular community as an insular, narrow-minded lot, where the only saving grace is the rational Bharatiar-like thinker Venkatram, is nothing new to Tamil cinema. Surely Kavithalaya could have thought of a better comedy track. But thankfully the hero and heroine are not separated on the basis of caste or community and thus some compensation is made.

Priyan's interesting camera angles add to the aesthetic aspect of "Saami". V. T. Vijayan's editing is another commendable aspect. Among Harris Jeyaraj's compositions, "Vaeppamaram ... " reveals a clear Ilaiyaraja influence.

Flaws there are — but when the maker has a finger on the pulse of the audience little else matters.


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