If anything, movies like Sathriyan – where gang wars are a way of life – come with their own (degenerating) vocabulary. For one, you have to know that when some one on screen says “போடட்டுமா?”, he or she isn’t playing catch, they are screaming murder. Even if you don’t get what they are saying, rarely do men with rippling moustaches and menacing expressions deign to play catch. You are bound to notice something ominous, especially in the odd choice of words. Likewise, the more popular “செஞ்சுருவேன்”, thanks to Dhanush’s Maari, doesn’t translate to doing something mundane, but is euphemism for murder. More colloquially, doing someone in. But then, for these gangs, as the movies would have us believe, murder is mundane. Not a minute passes by on screen when someone isn’t being killed, or chased down dark alleys, aruvaa and adiyaal in tow. It’s tedious this routine, especially for the audience glued to the seat for three hours if not for the people involved in hot pursuit.
In Sathriyan, Vikram Prabhu as Guna, is a gangster, the only fair-skinned one of the lot. Obviously, he is also the best, so to do him in, his rival sends every henchman he could muster. They surround him, shovels and sickles in hand, beat him up, throw him in the darkling Cauvery.
Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music is splendid at such times, announcing a sinister something without resorting to dramatics. There’s no rising crescendo, but a tempo that climbs and falls subtly, in a single wave, with a distinct crest and trough. It’s faintly reminiscent of his father.
Sharath Lohithashwa is the villain of choice these days. In last week’s release, Bongu, Lohitashwa played Pandian, a Madurai don with a thing for cars. An equally evil-looking Rolls Royce, stashed away in his garage, was part of his daily worship. While this quirk of his was not satisfactorily explored in the movie, Sathriyan, even though featuring him only for a brief while, uses him to great effect. When Samuthran (Lohithashwa as the reigning don in Trichy) is shot straight at the heart, he grins maniacally. He doesn’t fall, but stands rooted to the spot – dead – still grinning.
Sathriyan has a bunch of masculinists who engage in some revolting activism. They make merry of women getting stalked, groped and molested, retaliate when the victim fights. This ‘taming of the shrew’ obviously culminates in marriage, the woman all coy smiles after she’s been slapped for questioning the intrusion of her personal space – an abhorrently masculine idea of romance.
Meanwhile, Niranjana (Manjima Mohan), the daughter of the slain Samudran, complains to her mother that she’s being stalked.
The mother is amused. Later, the two women laugh about it.
With a token bruise, and a sling. He is in love with the slain Samudran’s daughter, Niranjana (Manjima Mohan), mulls over his gangsterhood, chases down a few rivals, elopes with girlfriend. By now, Sathriyan has lapsed into relatively lighter territory – with a starkly different, but no less polluted vocabulary. Women giggle, men ogle, and “ஆளு” no longer means a stranger on the road, but a specific person of interest. A grievance that I just had to air.
The Sathriyan 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 any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.