It is a start of another weekend and there are several new releases to be ticked off. So without wasting any time, lets dig into each one of them. First up, I finished the Tamil film Saani Kaayidham which is now streaming on Saani Kaayidham. It is directed by Arun Matheswaran who had earlier directed Rocky, a film that I am keenly awaiting an OTT release considering the fact that I am hearing some good things about the film. And Saani Kaayidham stars Keerthy Suresh who looked absolutely raw and deadly in the film’s trailer, a far cry from her affable personality with a disarming smile. Talking about the trailer, it really looked promising and raw and hence this film was on my top most priority for the weekend. So then does Saani Kaayidham manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Saani Kaayidham is essentially a revenge saga based on true events which occurred in the 1980s. The story might seem simple considering that it is at the end of the day a revenge saga, but its raw and brutal treatment is what makes the film stand out. The screenplay standing at a little over 2 hours moves swiftly at a brisk pace and is divided into chapters. The opening one take shot sets the ball rolling for things to come and it is enough to send a shiver down your spine. As they say, violence is as much imagined than shown which essentially means creating a mood and an image for the user rather than actually showing it on screen. And this was done wonderfully well with the setup that had a woman wailing away after being set ablaze.
The screenplay further unfolds to showcase the turn of events which would acts as a foundation for the revenge drama to follow. Very briefly, you are provided a glimpse of the caste divide along with the patriarchy which is prevalent in the village. The simmering tension being eventually escalated into a brutal act thereby perfectly setting up the drama to follow.
But you cannot be prepared for things to transpire in the second hour although you do get a glimpse in the opening act. The eventual killings are raw and brutal where the makers throw every technique possible to make you squirm in your seat. There is plenty of gore and blood along with moments of madness which form the crux of the second hour. So much so that you begin to enjoy the killings as the two protagonists go on a rampage. It is here that the film scores big time and makes a lasting impact. While the entire film manages to hold your attention, the moments of murders are the most enjoyable in a twisted way. The final act is one of the most brutal sequences that I have witnessed lately summing up the film perfectly. The screenplay is an out and out winner here.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are sparingly used, there are more moments of silent and gore instead of dialogue-baazi which was refreshing to watch. The thing I enjoyed most was the focused storytelling technique with minimal use of dialogues. The BGM is grungy that perfectly goes well with the drama. The cinematography and art design are the unsung heroes of the film. With the use of monochrome for a flashback or dream sequence along with tense closeups especially during the killings, the impact of the scene was increased to 10 fold. The production design is perfect giving the film a fresh look. Director Arun Matheswaran has a serious flair in his craft. He literally teases the audience in the violent scenes without compromising on the brutality and the rawness. His direction is top notch.
The performances are absolutely brilliant here. Kanna Ravi and Lizzie Antony have their moments to shine. K Selvaraghavan as Sarayya is a perfect accomplice to Ponni and he excels in many of the combat scenes along with being understated in the dramatic ones. But the star of the show is undoubtedly Keerthy Suresh as Ponni in probably the best performance of her career. She is raw and brutal without any use of makeup and a far cry from her affable self with a disarming smile. Instead there are moments of madness which she pulls off so well including mowing down a dozen people or repeatedly stabbing a person or beheading another. She is deadly in a memorable acting masterclass here.
Saani Kaayidham is raw, brutal and one of the most gruesome films of the year so far. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Recommended.