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Arbiter on his own terms

malathi rangarajan
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old-world feel Sattapadi Kutram
old-world feel Sattapadi Kutram

W hatever it is or isn't, Sattapadi Kutram (U/A) is bold. Director S. A. Chandrasekaran who had a lot to say about the socio-political system in his early films, viz., Sattam Oru Iruttarai and Needhikku Thandanai, returns to the genre after a hiatus. He uses a string of happenings to showcase depravity and avarice in high places. Déjà vu is inevitable because such issues have been dealt with in films, yet they are topical. Only that SAC could have worked more on the narration.

Chandra Bose (Satyaraj) gathers a group of young men and women, wronged by society and takes them into the forest to inculcate in them the spirit to hit back at the seemingly invincible. Thangaraj (Vikranth) and Surya (Harish Kalyan) represent the fiery younger lot up in arms (literally) against the evils in society. So do Poorani (Banu) and Tamizharasi (Komal Sharma). Chandra Bose brings each of them back from the brink of disaster. The values Bose stands for are motivators for the youth brigade. Of course, his actions stem from a personal tragedy brought on him by a powerful politician (the segment is on predictable lines).

Holding the strands of incidents strongly together is Satyaraj. The revolutionary look suits him. The actor is in his element when he fights social injustices in films, and SK supplies enough fodder. Satyaraj is the USP of SK. But the spliff on his lips throughout, even when on television, irks. As the straightforward Thangaraj, Vikranth is apt, but the role per se doesn't come out as sensible — in fact, his initial reactions are juvenile. Harish Kalyan's Surya is a better-etched character. After the Sindhu Samaveli debacle, Harish Kalyan has chosen a part that should garner notice. Banu, who entered with fanfare as the heroine opposite Vishal in Thamirabharani and went into hibernation soon after, returns with SK. The nuanced love angle to her character is appreciable. But her garish dance at the wedding is a dampener. Incidentally, this re-mix culture that continues unabated (here it's ‘Raathiri Naeraththu') is reaching intolerable proportions. None can forget the slimy, scheming shop supervisor of Angaadi Theru. Director A. Venkatesh is back again as the consummate criminal, Ekambaram. His performance proves that he can give other screen villains a run for their money.

The forest in SK is a picture-perfect milieu for adventure, and the art work (Kennedy) enhances the appeal. But how is Bose able to meet the boarding and lodging needs of such a large, extended family?

Astutely, SAC has included only three numbers, among which ‘Edhaedho…' is already popular. Vijay Antony is the composer. It is by no means a believable climax, but you are happy to see on-screen villains as a whole meet their nemesis. As I began saying, the filmmaker's daring nature comes to the fore at a crucial time in politics. But the execution lacks finesse, and at many points SAC's treatment gives SK an old-world feel.

malathi rangarajan

Sattapadi Kutram Genre: Action Director: S. A. Chandrasekaran Cast: Satyaraj, Vikranth, Harish Kalyan, Suresh, Banu Storyline: A sincere police officer is forced to tackle problems his way. Bottomline: Retaliation that's unrealistic


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