Saivam - given the green signal


Dear readers,
I’m back in action despite a fractured back bone with my ‘ready reckoner’ on Saivam, albeit a couple of days late. As soon as I saw the film while subtitling it the first thought that crossed my mind was:
‘The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree’
Nasser’s son Luthfudeen Baashaa has lived the role of a teenager to the hilt. This may be the first film where in a dad and son act as grandfather-grandson.
I loved the concept of the film and the simple way this story has been told, straight from the heart.
Baby Sara has had her limelight moments in DTM and she hasn’t let us down in this film either. My focus is on 4 different characters who kept me enthralled every step of the way: 
1) Baashaa as Senthil
2) Ray as ‘call me shravan’
3) George as Raja
4) Malathi as Kala
Nasser of course is a given- refined, versatile, can don any role and carry it with elan.
This is a film where the camera, scissors and musical instruments have walked with the director from start to finish. I’m sure this film will bag quite a few awards. To me, it felt like the feel good films of the mid 1970s, Choti si baath, Chitchor, Rajinigandha. 
As the film unrolls, we are immediately conscious of the way the lady of the house bonds with the servant, Kala, typical of a Chettinad village scenario. Mrs Kathiresan, called ‘aachi’ (a fond reference in Chettinad for mother) gives instructions to Kala to feed the cows, but all the birds and animals escape when Kala opens the door.
Immediately our ears tune into GV Prakash’s lilting score when the inmates of the house try in vain to catch the cows, chickens, the whole brood. Apparently the custom of this Chettinad house is the wrong doer has to do ‘thoppukarnam’ (sit ups with hands on ears) as punishment.
Little do we realize this small act of realizing one’s mistake has a bigger link in the climax! 
I love the music GV has used when Tamizh (Sara) owns up and does the customary sit ups of her own accord with remorse written all over her sweet face.
In the 1st song ‘oray oru ooril’ Nasser, the brilliant actor he is, adds small neat touches to this painting on the canvas making it a masterpiece. Tamizh is shown with her grandpa (Nasser) in the field. He lifts her across to wash her muddy feet and then slightly bends his knees, stumbles, a true-to-life gesture it is.
Senthil ‘s obsession of his aunt (dad’s sister) starts with him asking Raja (George) their man Friday when his aunt is expected. The satisfied smile on his face was the first sign that made me think ‘it is in the genes after all’. Plus his reaction to snakes! It sure takes a lot of self confidence to greet his cousin the way he did. And then we are introduced to this adorable spoilt brat Shravan (Ray) who asks him ‘what, bro, new fashion?’ 
Luthfudeen Baasha carries these scenes with effortless ease, in essaying
the distracted replies to his aunt,  interrogating his younger brother on the terrace for hitting on their cousin he has a ‘thing’ for, his conviction he’s right about the hen-friend theory while searching for the rooster…pats several on your back, Baashaa.
Same with Ray, his disillusionment at the lake not being the beach he had formed in his mind’s eyes, pursuit of wifi and the permanent scowl and spoilt brat look is a cake walk for this boy.
Senthil and Shravan’s interaction about phone and internet, when Shravan sullenly tells him ‘this is my room’ Senthil turns and agrees with the most sheepish smile ever! Kudos to you, ‘apple’!
“Azhagu” song is truly ‘azhagu’, singer (apple doesn’t fall far from popular singer Unni Krishnan’s tree either) and the simply beautiful way it has been choreographed.
Anthony’s edit is brilliant in the juggling and juxtaposing of 3 independent brawls, but I’m not surprised! To Anto goes the credit (Like PCSreeram) of encouraging his assistants to make it big on their own, a trait that’s rare and significantly noteworthy.
Director’s touch is evident when Sara gives in to Shravan just to preserve the secret of the hidden rooster when she says, “you can even sit on grandpa’s  lap” Truly transports me to my holidays with my grandparents and cousins.
The highlight I reiterate, 6 minutes after interval, the conversation between Tamizh and her mother…so natural, yet worldly wise interlaced by innocence, class apart! I’m sure you’ll smile when you hear it. Similarly
Tamizh’s question to her uncle about how her cousins’ relationship
 could be any different from his with his wife (who also is his 1st cousin)
is bang on! Children are smart and we often under estimate their perceptions.
Raja (George) steals the show in uniting the family. Even if a tad filmy to the western audience, workers are treated as family, especially in the old fashioned joint family system, still prevalent in villages. So is the point well made about a child excelling in a school irrespective of the medium of instruction!
I must add Nirav Shah’s shot, one I particularly fell in love with. Please watch out for it. A desolate Nasser is seated outside the temple sanctum sanctorum and the priest asks what’s troubling him…I won’t say anything more, for you’ll feel the magic of that lighting and mood set to perfection. 
On the whole this is a film I loved subtitling.
I hope you enjoy watching it, a film sans vulgar dialogs double entendre, thugs smashing people to a pulp kind of violence, gimmicks and hogwash…Red Giant you get a bouquet for choosing such a film to distribute!
This is a team effort to showcased to the world as “South of India has content too”
Let this not fade into oblivion before ‘word of mouth’ has its say!
Until my next ‘reckoning’
tata from rekhs

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