In a season where political dramas are becoming more unpredictable and interesting than even the most deftly written screenplay, here comes a film that aims at bringing all that into a 2 hour plus capsule. Sattapadi Kutram is director S A Chandrashekhar’s attempt at throwing (more) light on the existing political sham that our state and country finds itself in.
The film revolves around a man (Sathyaraj) whose life has been torn to shreds by corrupt men of the system. He faced the brunt of their anger when he dared to stand up against them. Now, his sole aim is to purge the system and the country of all corrupt evils. For that he begins forging a small army of young people who are at a similar angst against the system or at least some people in it. How this army goes about in its task of cleansing the political and bureaucratic scenario forms the rest of Sattapadi Kuttram.
Really, there is no one whom you would call a hero in this film, in spite of the presence of Sathyaraj. The hero actually is the real time political scenario of our country which has inspired or perhaps necessitated the making of such a film. S. A. Chandrashekhar has wasted no opportunity in focusing on each and every well known scandal that has been unearthed over the past year or so. However, the shameful fact is that in spite of his best efforts the scandals were just too many to be put into one film. In fact, there seem to be enough scandals left or emerging that would be enough to make a sequel or even extend it to a trilogy. You have a portion on the fake ‘Godmen’, a portion on the horse-trading of assembly seats and confidence votes for crores of rupees, a hybrid form of the Spectrum and the land mining scams, a little bit on dynastic politics; all thrown in for good measure. The director has not shirked away from brazenly portraying personalities from the political field without even the slightest attempt at being ambiguous with the identities. Former minister Raja and the Chief Minister are the most evident amongst these.
Despite the honest premise and plot, the problem is the lack of cohesion in the screenplay. The film seems to have been put together in a hurry (obviously to be ready before April 13) and has focused on bringing as much political impact onto screen even at the cost of the screenplay’s grip and tempo. There are even certain portions and dialogues which quite clearly state (to the observant) the political ambitions of a certain ‘Ilaya Thalapathi’. The film for most parts remains episodic, jumping from one scam or scandal to another, and the director’s best efforts at stringing them together have failed, though not completely.
There is limited scope for performances where the focus has been on including as much as possible onto the plate. Sathyaraj might have been able to reprise an Amaidhippadai-like performance, but doesn’t get the time or scope to do so. He is limited to a few strong dialogues, gestures and some flowing locks. Among others, only Vikranth and Banu get noticed. A. Venkatesh makes a strong impact with his negative act. Music by Vijay Anthony is hardly worth dwelling upon.
Sattapadi Kuttram is not a regular movie made with regular intentions of box office success. In fact, one cannot think of a more politically laden plot like this one over the last two decades. This has been made with the intention of making a statement and to ensure that if there are people who still haven’t heard of terms such as 2G, they will no longer remain ignorant. You can also detect faint similarities to Ramana, but the movie is nowhere close to being as gripping.
Watching Sattapadi Kuttram is a strictly personal choice. It is not an entertainer. It is a list of the scams that have plagued Tamil Nadu over the last year, an attacking statement right ahead of the elections. The choice is whether you want to watch a reel account of all those scams and scandals being performed by actors when the real deal is being shown 24X7 on news channels. Make up your mind!
Verdict: Scathing political statement!