There is something oddly satisfying about watching a Vijayakanth film of old. Back when he was not trying to protect India in every frame and when he had not been reduced to an internet meme, Vijaykanth had perfected a winning formula. One virtuous man, fighting evil.
A man that would be worshipped first, then tested, before winning at the end. He always did.
With Vijayakanth on a sabbatical, he decides to hand over his mantle – complete with multicoloured costumes – to his son, Shanmuga Pandian.
Sagaptham – Shanmuga Pandian’s debut – is his home production. And if that were not clear in the titles, the rest of the movie makes it obvious: He gets a long, lavish entry. A village extolling his virtues. A change of clothes. Two leading ladies. Another change of clothes. Dances in Malaysia. More new clothes. Pollachi now. A sidekick who makes jokes. Elaborate stunts.
Very Vijayakanth like. Except for a minor problem. Shanmuga Pandian is no Vijayakanth.
Watching him act is like watching a shy child reluctantly reciting nursery rhymes.
Sagaptham is also a homage to Vijayakanth. There are references to his movies everywhere. The film opens to Adi Kaanakarunguyile playing in the background. The villagers often tell Shanmuga Pandian that he is as considerate as his (real life) father. Meanwhile in the movie, the hero’s dad appears in a couple of scenes and puts in a wholly underwhelming performance.
The film’s woes are compounded by the mushy writing, like every character walked straight out of a Vikraman family entertainer. Except Karthik Raja, whose background score definitely does not belong in a Vikraman movie. Unfortunately, it does not belong in this film either, a jarring misfit that stands out instead of blending in.
And just when one feels that Sagaptham is beyond rescue, a character helpfully informs us that an expert would be on the scene soon to fix everything. Someone who’ll teach the bad guys a lesson. And lo, behind the shutters of a warehouse, a man clad in a red suit stands flashing a condescending smile.
The camera zooms in on his eyes. They are as red as his suit.
Then he helps Shamuga Pandian beat up the goons. The camera pans to him after the fight, and he proceeds to deliver a monologue about being patriotic. Followed by a salute.
It’s good to see Vijayakanth back on screen.
The Sagaptham review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.