Movies

'Savarakkathi': as sharp as it gets

As a cat and mouse story that more or less positions itself from the eyes of its hero and villain,Savarakkathi  does justice, and much more.

It is essentially a Mysskin film at heart (he is credited only to the screenplay), though GR Aathityaa is the director (debutant). The character Mysskin has chosen to play (Manga) is that of a bloodthirsty criminal, who is besotted with revenge. He decides another man’s fate by the mere toss of a coin.

Savarakkathi
  • Director GR Aathityaa
  • Cast: Ram, Mysskin, Poorna
  • Storyline: A gangster is in hot pursuit of a barber who hurt him in public

That other man is Pichai (Ram), an old-fashioned barber who is just about making ends meet. His family is growing — his loud-mouthed wife, Subathra (Poorna), is pregnant and bearing his third child. Her brother Raghu (introduced much later in the film) is determined to marry a rich man’s daughter and seeks Pichai’s help. But fate has other things written for the barber on that all-important day.

It is all-important for Manga as well: he has to return to police custody by the evening. But he can’t let go of his old ways – he just has to take revenge on this barber who has hurt him in public.

The first half of Savarakkathi  holds a lot of surprises if you go expecting a dark film. There are quite a few quirky-funny moments — a guy gets hit in the crotch and has to bear the pain throughout the film. The comedy of errors that lead up to the engaging interval block might just about rank among the best sequences of the year.

The tone changes in the second half. The irony in Savarakkathi  hits hard; a barber who’s dealt with blades and knives throughout his life faces the knife himself. His caller tune is the popular ‘Nalamdana’ song but he’s in deep trouble throughout, trying to escape from Manga and gang. Notice Ram’s performance in a scene in which he pleads for his dear life even as Manga’s eyes show no mercy. He’s squirming, he’s begging… no wonder he is name is Pichai.

Besides direction, there’s a Mysskin stamp all over. Take the camerawork of VI Karthik, for instance: The camera is placed just behind a gear before it closes in on a character’s face. Much later, it is placed on the ground (a Mysskin signature right from the days of Anjaathe) as it shows a character running. Even the music - by Arrol Correli – is the same brand that you’d associate with a Mysskin film; chirping away happily despite all the tension on screen.

For a film that thrives on situational comedy, the hard-hitting portions in the second half strike a high note. There are emotional notes as well; a lady is hard of hearing, a groom-to-be who is physically challenged and a tea seller who cannot speak.

The performances sparkle. Mysskin is convincing as a man whose life purpose is to extract revenge, while Ram is both subtle and loud, depending on the requirements of the scene. But they aren’t the only characters that we remember as we walk out of the theatre; there are several single-scene over-the-top characters that leave an impact. Like the “injured” goonda who’s unable to land a punch throughout, the only rowdy in Manga’s gang who seems to have some kind of brain, and the mentally challenged man who keeps harping on Darwin’s theories. Savarakathi  is adequately peppered with such interesting personalities.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 5:00:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/savarakkathi-review-as-sharp-as-it-gets/article22700336.ece

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