Saivam ends the way it begins. The crafty Nirav Shah sets up the opening moment against the sky, waits patiently till the credits roll, content to just let us listen till then. To what sounds like a busy marketplace below. Pan-down, and we see two women browsing through the wares.
For a self-styled ode to vegan living, Saivam opens in a wet-market, which sells fresh joints of meat, and fish. The women at the market seem undecided on what to make for lunch; and they place a call to the aiyah – Nasser as the intimidating patriarch. He is a hard-core carnivore (he requests a bit of everything, by the way), and a rigid disciplinarian who doles out ‘punishments’ to everyone in the house. But all the same, he has a granddaughter – Tamizhselvi (a delightful Sara Arjun) – whom he adores, and who in turn, adores animals.
[quote align=’left’]What comes as surprise are those beautifully-constructed vignettes that lead to the climax[/quote]Tamizh is the antitheses of a child though. She’s probably only eight, but thinks thrice her age. She is forgiving to a fault, turns herself in for someone else’s crime, hides her bruises so that her adoring family is spared the worry; and offers some sage advice to her periappa– all delivered with wide-eyed innocence. She’s also quite intuitive for a child. During an instance, she calls a childless aunt “amma”, to spare her the ignominy of being, well, childless. These bizarre moments aside, Tamizh is a delight to watch. When she’s onscreen, we don’t seem to be able to take our eyes off her. She’s probably the Indian version of Evangeline St. Claire (from Uncle Tom’s Cabin); the angelic little soul whom everybody adores, and whose antics draw a fond glance even from as rigid a patriarch as Nasser. Director Vijay plays favourites here. Clearly, he still has the Deivathirumagal hangover.
Saivam is quite intense for a tale that is pegged on a lost rooster, though. The premise seems a little too trivial to evoke such strong sentiments; and with an actor like Nasser in the picture, playing a role akin to that of the elder Sarathkumar from Suriyavamsam, it is almost laughable. When the family scuttles away, from under his strict eye, in search of the rooster; getting into street-side brawls over it, we wonder whether this is for real. There’s the much-contrived excuse; in the form of a deiva-kuththam.[quote align=’right’]Tamizh is the antitheses of a child though. She’s probably only eight, but thinks thrice her age. [/quote]
We look for hints of satire, but none appear; the director is quite serious about this.Granted he tries some social commentary now and then (of the childless couple who are subjected to the ‘question’ one time too many, and a con-man astrologer, but he can’t seem to decide where he belongs). There’s family drama, an awkward teenage romance (Luthfudeen Basha? Cute) and amidst all this, a forlorn rooster thrown together in a muddled heap. The director expounds family values; but ends up promoting consanguineous marriages instead; and tries to cash in on the urban-rural divide with some funny moments.
What comes as a relief, though, are those heartening instances in the second half. We quite know how the movie will end by now (duh, the title), but what comes as surprise are those beautifully-constructed vignettes that lead to the climax. They are still not devoid of drama, Vijay seems half-hearted about giving that up; but they are funny all the same.
The final moment rhymes with the opening scene. It sees us right where we began. It’s a new day; and the two women are back at the market. But it’s a different one alright. This market sells vegetables.
They are saivam now, thanks to Tamizh – and her love for the pet rooster, who is called Paapa by the way.
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