After one and a half years, we see Karthi on the big screen with the first timer Shankar Dayal’s political satire Saguni under Studio Green’s productions. The expectation levels for Saguni were high primarily due to Karthi and also his combo with Santhanam which had rocked earlier in Siruthai.
Debutant Shankar Dayal has taken on a political premise and the vital role of a kingmaker in Indian politics for his first film. Looks like he is also inspired by the Mahabharatha which is perceivable by the nomenclature of his protagonist-Kannan or Kamala Kannan. Saguni in Mahabharatha moved the coins in a scheming manner and was the brain behind the crucial twists; in Saguni, it is Karthi as Kamala Kannan who is the pivot behind this satirical show.
The striking aspect about Karthi is his sparkling eyes that are mischievous and at the same time innocent exuding warmth. He breeds joy and cheer all over and perhaps it’s this aspect that must have made him such a favorite among all age groups. In Saguni, it is Karthi’s show all the way and the actor is comfortable in his character and plays it well dishing out the necessary emotions in the right proportion. His get-up in the second half, a sparkling white dhoti with spectacles is something new which actually suits well for the young actor.
Santhanam is the cynosure these days and as Rajni Appadurai, he rocks once again. In fact the first half is ruled by Karthi-Santhanam fireworks in the form of witty oneliners. Their names Kamal and Rajni add to the fizz and Shankar Dayal has used the legendary names to infuse comedic aspects with lots of intelligent sub-texts.
Prakash Raj, Kota Sreenivasa Rao, Nasser are all value additions to the film and it’s a flourish for these veterans. Radhika after a hiatus makes her presence felt and for Roja it’s just a blink and miss role. Heroine Pranitha looks pleasantly ravishing who is just there for the dance rigmarole and is absconding in the second half only to emerge in the last scene. Anushka and Andrea too appear in a miniscule cameo.
G V Prakash’s Vellai Bambaram lingers on while other numbers are volatile in nature. Muthiah’s camera works in tandem with the dictates of the script and other technical team has delivered what is necessary for the script.
Shankar Dayal has clearly dichotomized his script into two, the first half concentrating on the comedy aspect and the second half on the political milieu. There are clever sparks in the dialogues but Saguni is not replete with them. In fact the logorrhea sometimes gets a bit tedious.
When Karthi is shown as someone with docile behavior, (even with his heroine!) there is no validation of his suddenly turning into a political kingmaker on his very first meeting with Radhika. Roja’s relationship with Karthi is also not well etched out and she abruptly turning anti-Karthi is vague.
Although the film cannot much be said to move at a Grandprix speed, it does move at a reasonable pace and on the way engages the audience. Songs in Saguni appear a forced inclusion not justifying its presence. And the premise as such is not something that is new to Tamil cinema. Toting up, if you are looking for some fun moments, a good looking hero, an average political game, Saguni offers all these.
Verdict: Fairly engaging political game.