Cinema

Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo: Moments to savour

Naga Chaitanya and Manjima Mohan  

The beauty of a movie watching experience is to be transported to a make-believe world, where you take in some moments with a wide smile and react to others with shock and awe, all the while wondering what’s next. If a filmmaker can keep his viewers hooked, giving them moments to re-visit and discuss, the film is worth the time.

Gautam Vasudev Menon, in his latest and perhaps most mainstream outing yet, doesn’t let you remain passive. He draws you into a familiar setting when he introduces his protagonist whose character name is withheld for a long time. Naga Chaitanya’s character at first seems like an extension of Karthik from Ye Maya Chesave —middle class neighbourhood, friends and family, falling in love with a girl who is his sister’s friend. In fact, there are references to YMC in a humorous way.

This is the story of an ordinary guy in love who is jolted by a cruel turn of events. The romance happens poetically. Chaitanya and Leela (newcomer Manjima Mohan) get to know each other over numerous conversations, shown interspersed with hilarious comments from Chaitanya’s friends.

There are trademark Gautham Menon tropes like the voiceovers that give you an insight into what the hero is thinking, his internal conflicts… There are English-laced sentences in day-to-day conversations. Then there’s the strong-willed leading lady who doesn’t hesitate to make a move that indicates her love for the protagonist.

The road trip to Kanyakumari is among the film’s best segments. The team that includes Menon, A.R. Rahman and cinematographer Dan McArthur turn magicians and make romance look overwhelmingly beautiful. As the lead pair takes in the sights of sunrise in Kanyakumari, there’s an eerie feeling that something might upset this happy phase. A title card at the beginning that the story is inspired by an incident in The Godfather pre-empts this mood.

When the jolt happens, Menon pulls a surprise, contrasting the gloomy incident with the emphatic song of yearning ‘Yellipomake’. This picturisation will be remembered for a long time.

The romance is achingly beautiful, but Menon is also known to walk down the dark path where an ominous antagonist can wreck havoc. Unlike some of his earlier antagonists, Baba Sehgal is someone you’d expect from a regular, mainstream film — deliberately annoying and at times, over the top. A lot of questions arise as to why and what of the situation the lead pair finds itself in.

The romance swiftly transcends into an action thriller where the ordinary guy sums up all his courage. His vulnerability is palpable but there are indications of what he’s capable of. You get a sense of it in a clap-worthy post interval scene where you think he is thoroughly cornered.

The real surprise is in the pre-climax portions when the hero’s character name is revealed. That name becomes the filmmaker’s trump card to go all out and play to the gallery with an improbable situation. How much one likes this segment depends on whether you like the shift of genre the filmmaker is indulging in.

Naga Chaitanya is on a roll, completely enjoying his part and revelling in having good material on hands. Manjima Mohan makes an assured debut, playing a character that’s relatable. The guy who plays Chaitanya’s friend is also worth a mention.

Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo is worth a watch for some terrific moments.

Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo

Cast: Naga Chaitanya, Manjima Mohan, Baba Sehgal

Direction: Gautham Vasudev Menon

Music: A.R.Rahman

Rating: 3.5

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2020 9:10:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Sahasam-Swasaga-Sagipo-Moments-to-savour/article16442808.ece

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