SAANI KAYIDHAM (Tamil)
Director: Arun Matheshwaran
Cast: Keerthy Suresh, Selvaraghavan, Kanna Ravi
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
By Jyothi Venkatesh
The dark vendetta film is set in 1989 in a place called Paradesapattinam, and begins with Sangayya (Selvaraghavan) waiting by the window while the wails of a woman being tortured are heard in the background. A woman now hands him a list and announces that she has got the location of the people they are after. Together, they walk back into the room where the woman is. Ponni, the frail subjugated woman trapped in a man’s world (Keerthy Suresh), who is a woman cop in the village, asks him for kerosene, and leaves to get it from their van, insisting that he should not kill her, because she wants to burn her to death.
Right at the outset, let me forewarn you that compartmentalized into chapters, the narration of Saani Kaayidham is very non-linear, letting you experience the film as a visual novel. In what can be termed as a follow up to Tarantino’s Kill Bill, here, too, we have a woman whose promising life is taken away when a gang of old men gangrape her and set out to murder her husband and child and leave her almost dead, vowing to take revenge in the perpetrators of the horrific crime on her. Thankfully, Ponni has an accomplice in the form of Sangayya, her half-brother, who has suffered a loss similar to her in the hands of men.
Also read: Thar Review: Impressive but tedious to watch
The lead actors Keerthy Suresh and Selvaraghavan excel in balancing both rage and grief. There are solid sequences for both the actors to perform in the blood soaked tale of vengeance. Without making you wince for even a second, Keerthi Suresh goes about her deeds with clockwork precision and empathize with her while Selvaraghavan is simply brilliant as her accomplice.
Ponni’s life is turned around because of a fire, when she vows to make sure that each of the four perpetrators knows what it feels like to have their skin scalded. The best thing about Saani Kaayidham is that it deals with the gruesome violence in Ponni’s life, and also succeeds in translating the tragic pain on screen by focusing on the abusers, their lewd perversities, vain egos and bastardised brutality instead of getting into the graphic details of the abuse, thus ensuring the dignity for the survivor.
The film is eerie and taut and well-crafted but If you are faint hearted, this film may churn your stomach because the idea of pouring acid on a rapist’s genitals to avenge her rape and the subsequent killing of her husband and kid daughter is not your every day’s cup of tea!