Director: Raj Babu
Cast: Nakul, Aanchal Munjal, Prakash Raj, Manobala, Chandrika Ravi
Composer: NyX Lopez
The flashiest moment in Sei occurs just before intermission. A bullet shatters the front pane of a vehicle and as Nakul – the film’s lead as the unconvincing Saravedi Saravanan, whose name and persona are at odds with each other – defends himself, arms raised, from a brilliant CG shower of broken glass, a ‘break’ is announced. It’s by far the most memorable frame till then. There are other gimmicks too – when Saravedi Saravanan snaps his fingers and says something seemingly cocky, the warning for smoking appears on screen.
He then smokes – of course.
Nakul is introduced in the film in possibly the most poorly written scene of all time – he asks for an acting opportunity from a producer (Manobala, sigh). He twists and turns, tries to be agile, suave and …funny at the same time that the director uses some stock laughter almost in anticipation of none, a defensive reflex for smoother transition. He sits some props around Manobala who are in apparent fascination of Nakul. They muster looks of admiration, laugh on cue, and an aspiring woman filmmaker (Aanchal Munjal) in particular is shown to be completely charmed. In another moment, he sweet-talks a woman out of her money, and these scenes are inherently phoney in their make-up that you don’t really need the verbal (and visual) confirmation that follows later. Needless to say, none of these attempts at blatant hero reinforcement work. Sei builds on the premise of a carefree, aimless youth who turns a new leaf when confronted with a family crisis. In many scenes that follow his introduction, Nakul tries to channel the traits and gestures of Karthik Muthuraman of the mid-90s – most of the time, it does nothing but remind one of the yesteryear actor who worked his exaggerated comic routines with ease.
Nakul is Saravedi Saravanan, the son in a family that relies on his father’s earnings. The family dearly hopes he would make something of himself but Saravanan is content to lounge around and waste away. An aspiring filmmaker though, finds him interesting. She follows him around, eggs him on to make something of himself – just to add to her script. It’s a decent enough idea, and partly comes to fruition post intermission when Nakul seems at ease in his own skin, and comes of age on screen.
Interestingly, Nasser as an underworld don is used as a metaphorical prop; he seems a guileless elderly man at first, before transforming into someone who cracks a punch without a thought. It’s a harbinger of things to come, as Saravanan finds himself on a seemingly benign ride, an unasked-for adventure that turns malevolent – which sees him turn macho. It makes for a mildly engaging routine. Soon, almost every character that the film introduces us to, is caught in the web of deceit and crime, with a social message thrown in for good measure. When Saravanan finally does what is asked of him, the other characters – the ones that propped him up – recede into the background.
The filmmakers have their tale, sure – but we don’t quite know if they make the movie. Or perhaps, we do, and Sei is the uninspired product.
The Sei review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.