Director Vijay has proven his mettle in almost all genres of scripts. He has done a mass hero flick, a breezy romance, a thriller, an emotional saga and a comic entertainer. In his latest film 'Saivam' which is also his father A.L.Azhagappan's production venture the director has gone back to our traditional roots and tried to highlight the beauty and importance of family relationships. He has also spoken about man-animal relationship and tried to convey a message favoring vegetarianism and concern for animal welfare. So how he has presented these thoughts as a cinema?
Kathiresan (Nasser) is a respectable person living in Kottaiyur Village. He stays rooted in the village since he does not want to depart from traditional life style and farming. One of his sons, along with his wife and daughter Tamilselvi (Baby Sara) accompanies his parents in the village.
The other children of Kathiresan who have settled outside the village visit their native after three years on the occasion of 'Oor Thiruvizha'. When everyone in the family keeps enjoying the reunion, an ill omen reminds Kathiresan and his wife about a 'Nerthikadan' (promise to God to offer something in return for a favor) that is pending for long.
Kathiresan and family members unanimously decide that the long pending 'Nerthikadan' has caused so many difficulties for each of them and decide to offer the rooster 'Pappa', that is being nurtured in Kathiresan's house, to the Lord 'Karuppu 'during the 'Oor Thiruvizha'.
Tamilselvi who has abundant care for animals and shares a deep bonding with 'Pappa' wants to save him. Does she succeed in her attempts and convince her family members to go against the 'Nerthikadan'?
Though the film starts with the tag that it is dedicated to people who promote vegetarianism and animal welfare, what is offered in the film is entirely feel good and light hearted. Everyone stuck in this modern day life will be yearning to have a lot of people around them to share their emotions and happiness. 'Saivam' makes you live for at least a few hours with those who have such people to share their emotions and that's what makes the film likeable.
The predominant part of the first half is allocated for establishing the characters within their family, their background and their relationship with each other. Though this has nothing new or great to offer, the sequences pass off without breeding boredom thanks to light hearted humor and a cute romance episode between cousins.
The film starts engaging us once the rooster is found missing and the family members go in separate groups in search of it. The fake astrologer episode in the second half is hilarious and special kudos to Shanmugaraja for pulling off the role near perfectly.
The film is not devoid of cliches and oft repeated emotional episodes. Like every other film that has children in lead role, this film too shows the lead child character as thinking and behaving beyond her age in many instances. The decision taken by Kathiresan and family at the end leaves us wonder whether converting to vegetarianism is that easy?
The propaganda for vegetarianism is subject to socio-political debate but we cannot question a creator's right to propagate what he/she believes to be right. But the propaganda about a debatable issue has to be done without hurting or insulting those belonging to the opposite side. Vijay treads a cautious path in this regard and avoids anything that could be perceived as criticizing the meat eaters.
Its a cakewalk for Nasser. Baby Sara (of 'Deivathirumagal' fame) has carried her role with finesse. Her expressions are as cute as ever.
All other characters in the film are donned by either new comers or less popular artistes. Out of the lot Nasser's son Luthfudeen Basha gives a neat performance as a teenaged lover boy who keeps on seeking an opportunity to spend time with his aunt's daughter who is close to his heart. George as the servant and Malathi who plays his wife and the servant maid in the house steal the show with their comic timing and also perform in the only emotional scenes without any mistake. All others have given what is needed of their respective characters.
Vijay's dialogues are noteworthy in the scene where Sara asks her mom about the rationale behind offering something in return to god and the dialogues uttered by Nasser about the sad state of agriculture.
G.V.Prakash's songs please the ears and the 'Azhagu' song rendered by Utthara Unni Krishnan deserves special mention. Re-recording fits the bill.
Neerav Shah's cinematography makes us feel the beauty of villages surrounding Karaikudi. Selvakumar's Art direction has contributed to the perfection in the nativity factor.
A feel good film that makes you feel good for most parts.