Vijay Antony has something that other Music Directors, Film-makers and even Lyricists who have given a shot at acting don’t have, the tag of being a bankable actor. This is predominantly thanks to his proven track record. With Saithan being his fifth film as the lead, even his least successful flick, India Pakistan received decent ratings from critics. With boulders such as a reputation to maintain and a film that he’s bankrolling himself on his shoulders, Vijay does stand tall and has managed to walk his way into an yet another box office victory with a devil-may-care (pun intended) attitude.
A married techie starts hearing random voices in his head and his simple yet contended life goes for a toss. When he tries to get to the bottom of it, he ends up unearthing secrets of the distant past and disturbing present. Will he solve this issue and get his life back on track? How will he react when he figures out that he was taken for a ride? What led him to a schizophrenic state? And more importantly, the question that had us all wondering, Who is Jayalakshmi? Saithan answers it in a decently entertaining but only a sort-of acceptable form.
Said to be a script inspired from the works of the late writer genius Sujatha, Saithan’s storyline is jaw-dropping to say the least. But executing it is another uncharted territory altogether and debutant Director Pradeep Krishnamoorthy, has done a decent job with it.
Apart from music, Vijay is also good in calculating when to choose which script and over the last few years, he has chosen them wise enough to make sure he’s able to perform and make the character look convincing. This makes Saithan his best till date and the actor has grown exponentially with his acting prowess. He scores with his wide array of emotions that his character gets to display and he does it with confidence. The number of close up shots stand as a testimony to it.
The female lead Arundathi Nair has nabbed a role that demands her to emote well and she pulls off the role of a innocent wife with ease. Other notable performances are from Y. Gee. Mahendra, Kitty and Chandra Haasan, who have done their role perfectly irrespective of the screen time they have.
Considering the fact that the story unfolds right from the opening shot, the first half moves like a storm on steroids. This couldn’t be matched by the second half, which, in spite of twists and turns, doesn’t have much to hold the attention of the audience. But that said, there aren’t many dull moments excluding the flashback and the climax. Screenplay deserves a mention along with the cuts which look slick and camera works that does justice to the genre. The script demands the story to be conveyed in the most comprehensible manner. Though the director has given his evident best, he has succumbed to a bit of commercialism at places and the best example are the instances where comedy is forced in and shots of henchmen flying across after rubbing the hero in a wrong way. Vijay’s music in his previous films have resulted in a couple of noteworthy songs but there aren’t any such tracks in this album. But he makes up to this with a couple of splendid background scores that sets the mood in style.
The antagonist is revealed way too close to the climax and only when he’s shown as a ruthless mad scientist-ish type, he ends up as a ‘comedy piece’ in the hands of our lead. Probably because of the mental disorder theme along with the reason for it mentioned in the second half, one cannot help but get reminded of a few recent films such as Dhanush’s 3 and Anegan and Iru Mugan.
Overall, it’s a thriller that could’ve received a better treatment but still manages to entertain and live up to the expectations.
Saithan – Worth opening the magical lamp (read as wallet) to watch the demon play.
My rating: 3.25/5