'Sindhu Samaveli' (Tamil, Drama, 2010)
Cast: Harish, Anakha, Ghajini
Human foibles and weaknesses which manifest in relationships beyond accepted social norms, particularly in the realm of the sexual, has been the basis of writer-director Sami’s earlier films 'Uyir' and 'Mirugam'. 'Sindhu Samaveli' too delves into a forbidden relationship — that between a young newly married woman and her father-in-law. Sami acknowledges in the credit titles that his inspiration has been Russian novelist Ivan Durganev’s First Love.
Anbu and Sundari, classmates in 12th standard are drawn to each other. Sundari belongs to a poor weaver’s family, while Anbu’s mother is a teacher at the school, and his father Veerasami is an army-man.
Injured and taking voluntary retirement to spend quality time with his wife and son, Veerasami returns home. But his wife’s sudden death and the resultant loneliness, makes the man heed the suggestion of a well wisher and get Anbu married to Sundari.
Sundari, the new bride lights up the house with her love and care. Anbu, aspiring to be a teacher, like his mother, gets admission in a training institute away from home. Circumstances and loneliness draw Sundari and Veerasami in an intimate physical relationship. Sami conveys the fact that moral deviations never pay. And here too, it has its backlash destroying three lives.
As in his earlier films, Sami walks on a razor’s edge. But the crudeness, which was so much a part of his earlier movies, has been replaced with subtlety and finesse here. The pleasure and guilt of Sundari and Veerasami, as they venture into a forbidden relationship, are all brought out in a very realistic way. There are no explicit scenes involving sex or skin show. There are a few glitches, like the comedy scenes that mar the flow.
The performances have been well coordinated, Sami extracts some brilliant performances from his actors. Anakha (aka Amala Paul of Veerachozhan fame) essays the role of Sundari with maturity. Debutante Harish is apt as Anbu.
Ghajini is splendid, in his first major role as Veerasami, carrying the demons of guilt yet not willing to let go of the pleasure. The locations are picturesque —the huge bungalow near the deserted beach is an idyllic spot away from prying human eyes that fuels the relationship further. The set of the bungalow (Thotta Tharani), the effective cinematography (Nayanar) and the impressive background score (Sunder C Babu) enhance the mood and feel of the movie. Kudos to Sami for tackling a bold theme, and presenting it with a feel of realism and finesse.