Saayam, the upcoming Tamil film, written and directed by debutant filmmaker Antony Samy, is about the evils of imposing the caste system and a caste identity on youngsters, and especially students, the director said in conversation with Silverscreen India.
Antony has also produced the film under the White Lamp Production banner.
Speaking about the motivation behind the social drama, the director said, “In Tamil Nadu, almost everything, including cinema and politics, is based on caste. There is no way to lessen or hide it. About 10 years back, we used to ask each other about our caste, but now, you can tell who belongs to which community simply by looking at them. People flaunt their caste identities, they put them on bike stickers. The least we can do is not involve the children. From schools to colleges, they are painted with caste. I wanted to show the evils that come from this. Saayam is a film against the caste system.”
Giving a brief synopsis of the film’s plot, Antony said, “The film is about how a brilliant student is led astray by caste. When he values friendship more than caste, he does not care about caste. However, when he is blinded by caste superiority, he is not able to see his friend anymore.”
Antony began working on the script about four years ago when he started noticing the violence and atrocities committed in the name of caste across colleges in Tamil Nadu. “There are many instances of caste clashes across the state, especially in southern districts. However, this film is not based on any particular incident, but rather made by observing the trend. It is an all too common story,” he added.
While there have been several films lately that talk about oppressed communities and their issues, Antony clarified that Saayam does not highlight any particular caste. “Nor have we degraded anyone. The film speaks about how caste should not be imposed on students. I came to know that in Tamil Nadu, over the past 10 years, about 13,000 murders have taken place, out of which around 8,000 have been committed by students below 20. And most of these are due to caste. This is why I wanted to make a film that says there should no caste.”
Antony, who has also penned the dialogues, added, “The dialogues will be sharp and poignant. I’m aware it can create controversy, but I haven’t played it safe. I have not minced words, the film even specifies which community each character belongs to.”
Saayam’s filming began in 2018, but was only wrapped up about two months back, revealed the director. Though the film is set against the backdrop of Devakottai in Sivaganga district, it was actually shot in Karaikudi, Valparai, and Puducherry.
The film’s post production is complete and the makers are planning to launch the audio in the coming week. The runtime of Saayam is 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Antony said that the release of the film depends on the re-opening theatres in the state. However, they are open to releasing it on OTT platforms also.