Saguni – will turn in his grave

(Lack of) Direction: Shankar Dayal (Sharma – as Kalaignar TV just called him)

Featuring: Karthi, Santhanam, Pranitha, Prakash Raj, Nasser, Roja, Radhika, Kiran, Kota Srinivasa Rao mattrum palar

Political thriller (was it?)

Our politics begins and ends with electoral politics. So, Boopathi is a cruel-mindless-evil politician (played rather convincingly by Prakash Raj) who doesn’t think twice about murder, theft, inducing riots or even wickedly eliminating competition. There is no good side to him. He is evil and is going to ruin Tamilnadu for his personal benefit.

One victim of this politician’s pursuit of personal benefit is Kamalakannan (Karthi, the hero) who wants to retain *his* property and stall the construction of an underground subway/ underpass. There is an explanation about how he has been wronged. But in essence, this is the *struggle* of a man who refuses to let go of his *personal property* for infrastructure development of the state.

From there, he uses his brains, sends Santhaanam to jail, manipulates a saamiyaar, starts wearing glasses, becomes a *king maker* and establishes the *right* rule *for the people*.

Common man at politicians’ mercy

Like every other political film that Tamil cinema makes (Dhool, Ko etc. being examples), the common man (of course not the hero, you dud) is always at the mercy of these high and mighty politicians. Saguni, being the story of a *king maker* only accentuates the lack of public participation in *king making*. With this being very close to real life, I don’t know if it (the realistic representation in the film, I mean) is a good thing or bad.

Women power

This is the most bothersome part of the film for me (it is a feminist’s blog. What exactly were you expecting?) The film has unnecessarily many female characters – but I am going to bring up each of them and discuss (of course).

The eye candy lot

There is Sridevi (the hero is named Kamal, you see?) who dances in foreign locations, looks pretty, uses the hero to protect her against miscreants but later ignores him on instructions of her mother. We could have done without her. But you see, the film is all talk about her (love) – so one number heroine has to be shoved on us. And on the hero in the last scene.

Then there is Anushka and Andrea just to hype up our hero (Oh-my-god-he-is-so-desirable)! Even Rajini Appadurai (Santhaanam, as you’d have guessed) has a *jodi* who ignores him when he is a driver but is impressed with him when he becomes the Mayor’s PA (the job that he got on the recommendation of Kamal who has the Mayor on speed dial. There is no hint that he is even qualified for the job. Anyway, the woman isn’t looking for any such thing, is she now?)

The family lot

The atthai (Roja) is a selfish woman who takes her share of property and leaves for the city when the others in her family are giving away everything they have for *feeding* the poor. She uses her nephew (?) as a driver and throws him out when the job is done.

Devadharshini appears in one scene and weeps for the death of her parents (though plays no role in avenging or even seeking justice for it).

Then the political lot

There is this role played by Kiran – an ambitious woman who wants to make it big in politics. She is dressed in sexy sarees and appears as Boopathi’s set up. She displays no intelligence, finesse, political ability or even just independent thinking. She is Boopathi’s puppet, just sometimes being an annoying woman who could be eliminated (which Boopathi attempts later in the film).

There is Ramani Akka (so much for Radhika playing this role) who goes from idli kadai to kandhu vaddi vasool rani to Mayor. If you’re convinced that is a common woman’s guide to an empire, hear me out. She makes no decision on her own – she is asked to contest in elections by Kamalakannan and she does so. He plans her election campaign and gives her the *out-of-the-box idea* of distributing cricket bats to voters’ children (as bribe, of course). He stops her while she is about to withdraw her candidature in return for money. She is also a puppet. She is mightier because she is the hero’s puppet. That is all. Kamal, however, goes as far as to use her for his personal benefit (of saving his house, #youremember). She becomes the Mayor because the Mayorship this tenure is *reserved* for a *woman* and she is the only woman councillor in Chennai. She implements his plans to demolish the property that may belong to the CM. So on and so forth.

In short

~      The first half is unnecessary – so is most of the second half.

~      There is no logic to most of what happens in the film nor there is any meaning.

~      Santhanam is funny – Karthi not so much (there is a scene where he says “thanni, kanni, su….” and waits only to complete that with soodhu. Sigh).

~      (Personal) good wins over evil

~      People dump money on Saamiyaars even if they were sitting around smoking beedi

~      Political thriller, my foot!

Further reading

I hear from people very often that my reviews tend to be biased and (unreasonably) negative. So, I’ve decided to also put up some links from other reviewers. Here are some other reviews I read today. Will update when blog reviews come up.

Pavithra Srinivasan – Rediff

Bharadwaj Rangan – The Hindu

Romal M Singh – DNA (positive review. lol)

16 thoughts on “Saguni – will turn in his grave

  1. first things first: how do you people manage to watch a film on the first day itself??;-> and as for the story i find it eerily similar to real life…remember a kalyana mantap at koyambedu and the rise of an actor in politics after the demolition of his property for the new flyovrr? anyway what seems boring to you might be entrrtaining to the masses who are just looking for paisa vasool…and would that expkain why the film is booked solid for the next week??

    • Thanks for the comment, Ganesh. A few things. 1. I watched it on the second day. And it wasn’t exactly houseful in Bangalore – strangely.
      2. No. I do not know the story of the actor. Will you point me towards some reading please? :)
      3. Please read disclaimer on my blog. I don’t write anything about a film’s acceptance or box office numbers. Which is why I give no rating to films. So, yes. It can be entertaining to you and I am glad people believe they get their money’s worth! :)

  2. only after reading the review, i recollected Devadharshini’s presence in the movie.. was wondering for 2 mins who is this and where did he come in the movie.
    this should suffice for the movie’s poor :) santhanam, the only consolation. GVP, very poor.

  3. Chanced upon this blog. Liked the post and the blog. Particularly the feminist opinions about films, which one never gets to read from most mainstream critics.

    (Infact I think most mainstream woman critics are probably too desperate to remain mainstream, that they don’t want to stress upon what women are portrayed like. But prefer sticking to regular parameters like music, screenplay, cinematography or the other usuals.)

    • The reason I write feminist pieces (apart from my inclination to feminist ideologies of course) is that I know very little about music, screenplay, cinematography etc. Who am I to judge? Representation of women, however, I am qualified to! :)

      Thanks for your kind words. I don’t get these as much as I get abuse! :P

  4. Watched this movie. Damn. The dumbest ever. Its bloody impossible to believe that so many actors, technicians and the producer fell for this and went along.

    Even the crudest of Sathyaraj/Manivannan movies have shown better understanding of politics. Atleast they were smart enough to work their stories around a much smaller political universe and not make sweeping mindless plots on state politics or a Chief minister.

    Saguni’s director just over-confidently parades his political as well as cinematic ignorance.

    • Which is sad. People think one Santhanam, one Rajinikanth pun and one pretty heroine is all that takes for a political satire! Idhula andha padam viswaroopa vetri vera!

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