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Review by : Behindwoods Review Board

Starring: Srikanth, Sonia Agarwal,
Direction: Karu Pazhaniappan
Music: Vidyasagar
Production: SS Amutha Durairaj


We had almost given up on this movie, hadn’t we? How often do we see that a movie that has been lying in the cans for over 5 years gets a theatrical release? We were almost expecting to see Chathurangam on TV rather than on the big screen. But, hats off to the team of this movie for sticking it out through the rough times and getting it released the way they wanted, on the big screen.

Chathurangam is a movie that revolves around the life, challenges and travails of an investigative journalist who goes to any extent to bring out the truth about people in high places and positions, their shady dealings and questionable activities. And, he is not just a reporter who raises speculations and allegations, he makes sure that he has got enough proof to back all that he claims. The movies starts off with an interesting incident that establishes the protagonist’s character as a committed and daring journalist, as he gets himself deliberately arrested and jailed for a petty crime just to gather evidence about the inappropriate management of the prison by authorities. But, playing with people in power can be dangerous, especially for a man who has almost no influence outside the press. And, sure enough he courts trouble. The ensuing is an interesting game, something like chess, where his enemies try to close him off from all sides while he counters them with a few moves of his own. The director has taken care that the romance, which develops slowly along the sides of the plot, is not just a song and dance routine and has woven it into the main plot.

The biggest positive of this movie is definitely the screenplay, especially in the first half. It maintains a very racy tempo, keeping us engaged throughout. Being an investigative-action plot, the director has given no space for comedy or any other element that would hinder the progress of the central plot or loosen its grip. For most parts the director has also maintained the intelligence quotient of the movie at a positive level, which is necessary for any investigative plot to look convincing. He however gives in to commercial temptations here and there, one fight scene in particular, where the hero rises like the phoenix after being hit to the ground with iron pipes. That apart, even the fights retain an amount of credibility.

But, sadly, for a film with good plot and execution, it is the heavy delay that spoils the party. Five years is a long time and the five years that have elapsed between the making of Sathurangam and its release have been a period of extensive change and technical improvement in Tamil cinema. That delay is evident as we watch the movie on screen. The visuals are not sharp, as bright as we are used to these days; in short, the film looks contemporary in subject and treatment, but not so in its technical aspects. No one in particular to be blamed for this. And, there are also instances and incidents in the film which give us a feeling of déjà vu, as if we have seen them in some other movies. This would not have happened had the film been released immediately after it’s making.

But, all these points aside, Sathurangam never lets you yawn in your seat, it keeps you interested. Srikanth could have used a hit five years back. Having said that, the timing of the release now is also not too bad. He is looking to get his career back on the fast track and this one as a precursor to Nanban can do a lot for him. He has delivered a strong and convincing portrayal as a committed investigative journalist. Sonia Aggarwal too couldn’t have asked for better timing! Just as she gets ready to bring herself back, she gets a shot in the arm in the form of Sathurangam which will remind us of her heydays in the industry. She too turns in an honest performance. Others in the cast including Mahadevan have also made their mark. Vidhayasagar’s music too suits the film and has been shot accordingly.

Overall, Sathurangam is a film that would have definitely made a strong impression if it had been released immediately after its making. But, even now, it does stand a good chance of impressing audiences with an intelligently narrated story. Sathurangam is proof of the fact that a good story never gets outdated.


Verdict: Interesting game of chess!

Tags : Sathurangam, Srikanth, Sonia Agarwal, Karu Pazhaniappan, Vidyasaga
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