It is a start of another week and I decided to finish off one leftover from the weekend. With that I finished watching the new Tamil film Seththumaan on SonyLiv. Over the past few months I have been noticing that while the big blockbusters are people’s favourite from the Tamil film industry, smaller independent films are also making a mark. Films like Kadaseela Biriyani, Kuthiraivaal and Kadaisi Vivasayi have definitely found an audience and appreciation over various OTT platforms. And one such OTT platform SonyLiv has been really at the helm of it, tactfully backing such smaller independent films and giving them a voice, much like the ideologies which we have at Popcorn Reviewss. So along with a Hindi Release in Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi, the OTT platform also launched the Tamil film Seththumaan. Now, I hadn’t watched its trailer so I did not know what to expect but it again seemed like a film comprising of social commentary similar to films like Fandry. So then does Seththumaan manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Seththumaan, literally translated to ‘Pig’, follows the story of a grandfather who is given a task to arrange for pork in a village marred by caste issues. The story is relevant and it brings to the fore politics related to food which I believe hasn’t quite being discussed in any films previously(or I may not have watched it). The screenplay at just over a 100 minutes is taut and holds your attention throughout. The screenplay at the very beginning establishes the heartwarming relationship between a little child and his grandfather. The latter would go to any extent to ensure that the former gets good education and moves out of the area for a better life. This sentiment is further established when you get a glimpse of the caste differences between the people of the village. In a completely different setup, we are told that the little kid lost his parents due to a caste riot involving a cow.
The film touches upon a conflict between warring brothers over the most petty thing. The proceedings are conversational but they make you stand up and take notice. The entire food commentary begins in the second half after a solid foundation. The entire sequence of slaying the pig and killing it only to later cook it will make you squirm in your seat. It is gruesome and in your face. But what follows is even more tragic! The final act will leave you absolutely numb and as the final stare(by a character) continues, it will make you uncomfortable and equally helpless. The disparity between the rich and the poor and the gap in between in shown in the most shocking and hard-hitting manner. Overall, a splendid screenplay which will leave you numb at the end.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but they give you a glimpse of the world around and they manage to hit home. The BGM is subtle and it doesn’t overpower any scene. The cinematography deserves a round of appluase too. Director Thamizh does a phenomenal job here. He deftly addresses the issues including politics related to food and how it affects people who don’t matter to the world, and he showcases it in the most subtle yet mind numbing manner. The direction is exceptional.
The performances are excellent and they give the drama some much needed authenticity. Kumar as Rangan and Prasana Balachandran as Vellaiyan are both excellent and they shine particularly towards the end. Ashwin as the little kid Kumaresan delivers a heartfelt performance. The final scene will potentially haunt you for a very long time. The actor playing the grandfather is excellent and really earnest. All his actions were coming from a place of wanting the best for his grandchild, which was heartwarming.
Seththumaan is hard-hitting and numbing, a film which will leave you pondering long after it has ended. Available on SonyLiv and Highly Recommended.