Cast: Nasser, Sara, Luthfudeen Basha, Twaara, George, Ray Paul, Rahil
His earlier films have been either remakes or inspired versions of other language films. But Vijay’s latest venture Saivam, which he writes and directs for his home banner, has a script that is original and moves away from the beaten track. Set in a rural milieu, it depicts the happenings in a joint family. It touches on family values and bonding, tradition, culture and superstition and above all empathy towards all living things. It promotes vegetarianism in a subtle way without being preachy.
With the village’s annual temple festival round the corner, it’s reunion time for the family of patriarch Kathiresan (Nasser). Some mishaps in the family make the members believe that the trail of bad luck was due to their failure to keep the promise of sacrificing an animal to their family deity. They decide to offer the fowl nurtured with care and affection by Thamizh, the patriarch’s grand daughter (Sara of Deiva Thirumagal).
The bonding between Thamizh and her pet fowl is brought out well. But the fowl goes missing and it’s the frantic search for it that follows. The plot is a simple one, neatly crafted, the narrative style uncomplicated. The scenes of interaction between the family members have a natural flow. Humour is subtly weaved in. There is the romantic track where Senthil (Basha), smitten by cousin Abhi (Twaara) tries to impress her.
The director has steered clear of melodrama, the message conveyed subtly. Nasser performs his character with finesse. The entire cast, mostly freshers, has given fine performances. Debutantes Basha (son of Nasser) and Twaara aptly fit in. George and Malathi as the servant couple pep up the scenes. But the scene stealers are Baby Sara as Thamizh and Ray Paul as Saravanan, the grumpy little boy who resents everyone and everything in his grandpa’s house. Thamizh wiser than the elders at times, instinctively understands the problems each faces and tries in her way to ward off unpleasant situations. Sara reveals amazing maturity in handling her role.
Nirav Shah’s camerawork and G V Prakash’s score enhance the mood and feel. The director could have avoided some cliched moments and crafted the ending in a better way. The film may not have many high points, but there are no low ones either, the director maintaining a steady pace and an even flow. Capsuled at two hours of viewing time, Saivam is a feel-good film.