A film based on schools and children is not new, but its been quite some time since we saw a good one, notably after 'Pasanga'. M.Anbazhagan, a former associate of Prabhu Solomon has come up with one and this time, the attention is on a dilapidated, old rural school. Produced by his mentor, M.Anbazhagan has chosen a towering presence, in the form of Samuthirakani, in order to play the revolutionary and visionary teacher, who is hell bent in making a change to the fate and life of the schoolchildren.
The biggest strength of the film is the role of Dayalan, played by Samuthirakani. His powerful, yet subtle performance comes in for big praises, because he raises above the mediocre and less substantial other characters involved in the film. He fits in to the role, beautifully and his dialogue delivery is superb. Eager to see more of him in acting roles ! Thambi Ramaiah as the antagonist was sadly an irritation, with his over-acting and high pitched dialogue delivery, and also with a ridiculous wig ! 'Junior' Balaiah makes a comeback through this film, and has portrayed a neat role. 'Black' Paandi does what he can do best, with his funny and loud comedy sequences. Yuvan, Mahima, Swasika and the rest of the cast fills up the big casting list, essential for such a script.
M.Anbazhagan, should be appreciated for bringing up such a theme, which highlights the downfalls of today's society, in relation to the education sector, in precisely, rural-schools. His dialogues are big plus because without substantial and powerful dialogues, no actor can bring out a good performance and M.Anbazhagan has placed Samuthirakani on a very good platform, to perform. Some of the scenes, where well brought out but was definitely a little overdone. The message M.Anbazhagan intended to convey through this film, is noble but it goes very preachy at times and gives a more sentimental and melodramatic moment rather than a thought-provoking touch. The director could have worked out better with his characterizations because, in order to glorify the role of Samuthirakani, the rest of the cast were subjected to lesser importance or of substance and depth to their character. It would have been more compelling if the others were given proper roles to play.
'Saattai' is a decent film with a decent message for the viewers, when it comes to the education quotient of current school-going kids, especially in the rural side. Not bad for a time-pass.
Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS