Movies

‘Adhuta Saattai’ review: Noble intentions, but this message-ridden drama suffocates you after a point

Samuthirakani in ‘Adhuta Sattai’

Samuthirakani in ‘Adhuta Sattai’  

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Director Anbazhagan structures his film in a way that every sequence has to touch a social issue and deliver a message, exasperating the viewers

If you have been following news features in the last year or so, chances are you would have come across the heartwarming tale of a school teacher in Tiruvallur. The man was to be transferred elsewhere, and students refused to let him go, clinging on to him and stating that he was their “best teacher”. Photos of pupils hugging him and crying went viral back then.

Adhutta Saattai tries to recreate that exact warmth in one key sequence featuring Dayalan (Samuthirakani), a Tamil teacher who is trying to inculcate life values in his students. A group of students protest his suspension, and rally around him.

It touches the heart at some level, but Adhutta Sattai, unfortunately, has no time to tug at the heartstrings. Director Anbazhagan has structured it in such a way that every sequence has to touch a social issue and deliver a message. Samuthirakani — known for showcasing socially-responsible themes in his cinema — is back to familiar ground here, picking a few issues in the recent past to speak about.

Adhuta Saattai (Tamil)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Cast: Samuthirakani, Thambi Ramiah, Athulya Ravi
  • Storyline: A Tamil professor takes it upon himself to set right the ills that plague his college

The problem with films like Adhutta Saattai is that though their intentions are noble, the way they are conveyed is too direct and crude. So, you get a Sri Lankan student in the college (incredulously named ‘Appa College’, in direct reference to Samuthirakani’s earlier film, Appa) only because you need an observation about the plight of Sri Lankans. And you get a huge family only because the makers felt the need to throw light on the benefits of the joint family system. That the censor decided to mute lines during a crucial sequence that speaks against caste issues in educational institutions, adds to the distractions.

Except for a couple of sequences, the staging of most scenes is very ordinary and casting is way off; Thambi Ramaiah as the principal cannot decide if he’s supposed to be doing comedy or act all serious. The college milieu has been brought to life, but the ‘actor’ students hardly bring forth their characters — one of them has an eternal scowl, even when he’s smiling or tackling a ‘prachanai’, a word that is repeated a dozen times throughout the film. It wouldn’t be a surprise if people associate the same word with the film as well.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 6:00:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/adhuta-sattai-review-noble-intentions-but-this-message-ridden-drama-suffocates-you-after-a-point/article30105820.ece

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