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Saasanam: Truly memorable!
S Sudha | July 28, 2006 15:34 IST
Mahendran, who directed Tamil trendsetters like Udhiri Pookal, makes a comeback with Saasanam.
And after watching Saasanam, you regret that today's cinema has lost directors like Mahendran and performers like Arvind Swamy and Gauthami. Though the film is not very 'entertaining,' it is worth watching for a serious movie buff.
Muthaya (Arvind Swamy) and his wife Visalakshi (Gauthami) manage the vast estate and properties that they own in and around Kandalur, a village in Karaikudi. The couple epitomise charity and hospitality. One day, the couple gets two visitors. An aged lady and her young daughter Saroji (Ranjitha) arrive with a letter addressed to Muthaya's father, who is no more. The letter is a plea to help the mother and daughter. They had sold their belongings in Thanjavur to pay off debts and were looking for means to start life afresh. Muthaya asks them to occupy one of his vacant mansions and gives them all the provisions and materials for cooking. Muthaya is actually Ramanathan. His father who lives next door with his stepmother had given his son Ramanathan for adoption to a rich landlord Chettiar to pay off his debts. After adoption, Ramanathan became Muthaya, the heir to all the riches. Muthaya sends supplies to his father but has never once visited him. Muthaya's elder sister Meyiamma (Sabitha Anand) lives alone in a mansion opposite to the house of Saroji. Meyiamma and Saroji become good friends. Muthaya and Saroji develop a liking for each other. To put an end to the rumours, Muthaya accepts her as his second wife. Muthaya informs Visalakshi about his acceptance of Saroji as his second wife. Visalakshi who loves her husband accepts it gracefully. Does the Saroji-Muthaya relationship last? Will the Muthaya-Visalakshi marriage survive? Watch the movie to know the answers. Arvind Swamy as the rich soft-spoken man in his late 30s gives a mind-blowing performance. You can rate this as his best film as an actor after Roja. When Swamy took only Re 1 as payment for this film after hearing the story, he was probably thinking about his own real life (he is actually the son of Delhi Kumar and was adopted by an industrialist). Gauthami as Visalakshi is an effective foil to Swamy. Ranjitha's acting is inconsistent. At times, she is brilliant and at times, wooden. Probably being pitted against seasoned actors was her undoing. The supporting cast of Sabitha Anand, Thalaivasal Vijay -- who plays Muthaya's confidant Chellamuthu -- Vittal (Muthaya's father-in-law) and Ratanji give adequate support. Art director Trotsky Maruthu has gone into minute detail to capture the old-world charm of the ancient mansions of Karaikudi. Murali and K P Nambiathiri's cinematography is excellent. The soft tone to the whole film sets the mood. The musical score is good but you feel that instead of Bala Bharathi, it could have had the touch of Illayaraja. This is probably one of the last films where you get to see the editing duo Lenin-Vijayan at work. Mahendran's scripting, crisp dialogues and narrative style is very distinct. Censored in December last year and lying in the cans for more than three years, Saasanam is finally seeing light, and the wait is worth it. Very rarely you get to see such a memorable film.
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