Sathum Podaathay leaves Tamil fans with some hope that all is not lost with Tamil cinema.
Featuring youngsters Prithvi Raj, Padmapriya and Nitin Satya in strong roles, Sathum Podaathay dares to break new ground (for Tamil cinema, that is) with an offbeat story.
Sathum Podaathay is a commendable effort by director S.M.Vasant in eschewing the sordid practice of picking big stars like Rajnikant, Vijay or Ajith, adding superfluous comedy from Vadivelu or Vivek, throwing in a pretty face like Trisha or Shreya and, as an afterthought, weaving in a wafer-thin story line into the whole package.
Predictably, most Tamil films bomb because they are given the cold shoulder by fans sick of seeing the same old baloney with different names.
Apart from the story, Sathum Podaathay’s appeal lies in its fresh faces who can act.
Sathum Podaathay is also refreshing for sparing Tamil movie fans of that ridiculous nonsense of the ubiquitous fight scenes where the hero bashes a million opponents simultaneously.
Ratnavel (Nitin Satya) is an ex-alcoholic and impotent hockey coach who marries a pretty lass Bhanu (Padmapriya) without disclosing his problems. When Ratnavel starts abusing Bhanu physically and she subsequently gets to know of his betrayal, the marriage ends in divorce.
An incensed Ratnavel swears vengeance on Bhanu for leaving him and exposing his weaknesses to the world.
Bhanu is shattered by the traumatic experience of her marriage but subsequently finds happiness in a software engineer Ravichandran (Prithvi Raj) and they get married. But their happiness is shortlived when Ratnavel bumps into Ravichandran and learns who he is. Ratnavel now charts a sinister and ingenious plot to get Bhanu into his lair.
Director S.M.Vasant, who also takes credit for the story, screenplay and dialogs, has managed to wring out strong performances by the troika of Prithvi Raj, Padmapriya and Nitin Satya.
We were delighted with Prithvi Raj’s performance in Mozhi. And this actor from the neighboring state of Kerala delivers the goods in Sathum Podaathay. Veteran actors like Ajith ought to take lessons in acting from Prithvi Raj. This young lad is that good.
Padmapriya, again from Kerala, is a fine actress and easily leaves the current crop of most Tamil heroines – the Trishas, Nayantaras and Asins – in the dust.
Four of the finest actresses in present-day Tamil films – Navya Nair, Meera Jasmine, Bhavana and Padmapriya – hail from Kerala.
The third leg of Sathum Podaathay is Nitin Satya, who as the psychotic character obsessed with Bhanu, throws in a decent performance.
Sathum Podaathay has some flaws including a dragging and meandering script in the second half, unwarranted songs and a strange inability in building up Ratnavel’s deranged character into a more chilling figure.
But even with all its flaws, Sathum Podaathay is a fine entertainer compared to the manure that the Tamil movie industry shovels at its fans in the form of movies like Sivaji, Pachaikili Muthucharam, Mayakkannadi, Unnale Unnale and Aalwar.